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The Short Form

“Fostering”

Chad Simpson

Excerpt

In six months of fostering DeMarckus, Haiden and I had rarely heard what the boy’s real voice sounded like. He was always imitating people — their inflections and cadences, long strings of their exact words. Some of his imitations were funny. He could do the bubbly clerk from the video store: “I absolutely love this movie. Really. It’s, like, my all-time favorite.” Or my mother, while we were watching a movie: “Isn’t there something more, I don’t know, useful we could all be doing?” Other times DeMarckus’s mimicry unsettled Haiden and me. Once, when I turned out the light after tucking him into bed, he said, “Oh, no. We don’t cut the fucking lights out in this house. We leave the lights on.” His voice was so cool and detached I thought there might be someone else in the room, but when I flipped on the light, I found only Marcky, angled across his bed.

We read it in Tell Everyone I Said Hi.

Originally published in The Sun: Issue 338.

Originally appeared as “Especially Roosevelt”