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The Short Form

“That Baby”

Lindsay Hunter

Excerpt

Levis grew at night and plenty of mornings I'd wake up to see him lying there with his diaper busted open. Other ladies I've known who have given birth had always chittered on about their babies' growth spurts, but here Levis was 40 pounds within a week and 60 midway through the next, hair on his knuckles and three block teeth scattered amongst his jaws, then when he was one month old he called me Honey, his first word, fisted my breast, his nails leaving little half-moons in my flesh when I pried his hand from me, his grinning mouth showing a fourth tooth, a molar like a wad of gum wedged way back.

Daddy and I had heard of ugly babies, of unnaturally big babies. We'd seen a show once where what looked like a 12-year-old boy was in a giant diaper his mother had fashioned out of her front-room curtain, sitting there with his legs straight out in front of him like he was pleased to meet them, his eyes pushed into his face like dull buttons, and the mother claiming he wasn't yet a year. But Levis wasn't on the TV, he was right there, his eyes following Daddy across the room, those eyes like gray milk ringed with spiders' legs, and at two months Levis had chewed through a wooden bar in his crib, splinters in his gums, him crying while I plucked them with a tweezer, me feeling that nail in my gut, me feeling something less than love.

We read it in Daddy's.

Originally published in Everyday Genius.