Dog-walking, I spy them in the roadside grass: an empty Chick-fil-a cup, a used condom. Two houses down, a boy punches a soccer ball into his garage door, the smack of synthetic leather against wood making me wonder which will break first. His mother died in a drug deal last year, but I still imagine her around some corner, hidden, urging him toward a school bus he may or may not board. When he pauses, I stop too, thinking about the myriad ways that families get made—unmade. But then a rabbit materializes beside a bush. The dog tenses. We keep walking.


David Stevens teaches creative writing in Richmond, Va. His latest prose appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and Mid-American Review.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Cheng

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