First and Last

Screen capture Google Maps, St. Louis

Screen capture Google Maps, St. Louis

It was JT who found it: that picture of all of us, at our place on Maffitt.

JT and me, we still go to the same school, even though we be in different foster care. Wished I could tell Mama about it, but there ain’t no way to get hold of her—not right now. She’s working in Atlanta. But she’s coming back at Christmas-time, and with enough money for a lawyer, so she can get us back. Which is what you call ironic, cause her leaving us alone so she go could to work is why DHS split us up in the first place.

Don’t know where baby Zina is these days. No one can tell me. I still see that child in my mind’s eye—her chubby ballerina feet prancing across the painted porch floor. Girl’d be almost six now.

JT say the whole neighborhood is gone now.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a location-based fiction prompt inspired by Google Maps. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:

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9 Comments

  1. Heartbreaking and gorgeously written family microcosm of the greater dissolution in American cities. Great voice in this.

    1. Thank you, kind sir. Having watched the working class neighborhood where I grew up erased, I ache when I see this sort of thing, from the urban decay of inner cities to the vanishing landscape of small town America. It’s so much more than houses that are lost.

  2. Having worked in child protective services back in the day, even if we couldn’t keep all the kids together in the same foster home (and unfortunately, kids get moved around with a fair amount of regularity), we’d always make sure they visited one another, usually during parental visits.

    I wonder if this Mom will ever get it together. Kids in foster care have a lot of fantasies about how their parents are going to come back and they’ll all be a family again. Sometimes it works out.

    1. A difficult job, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your experience, James.

  3. So many layers to this story and such a convincing and heart-rending voice. Great story.

  4. Authentic voice that feels like it is something genuinely experienced. Well done.

  5. Dear Karen,

    This one’s a gut wrencher for sure. The voice makes brings it up close and personal. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  6. her chubby ballerina feet prancing across the painted porch floor. – Yum! I love this line. The voice in our piece is spot on and so melancholy – matter of fact. Kudos to you!

  7. lillmcgill

    What an amazing story. I loved it. I just don’t have the words to explain why I love it.

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