He wasn't my brother.
He was my mother's son.
Technically, he was just a small pink stone,
an ancient carving of a child
ceremoniously bathed in blood
and laid on a metal hospital tray.
He didn't warrant naming,
but she figured a still birth is still a birth,
and anything that's born deserves a name.
I guess if I spent that much time
growing something in my gut,
I would want to name it, too.
Even if I held on so hard that I turned it into a bone.
She named him Adlai.
In Hebrew, that means "God is Just."
She really believed it, too--
that God was just,
and that he took her son because it was
part of his plan.
I think she was too old to have another baby
and her body wrapped around him like a boa constrictor,
made him hard and cold.
And I think it's just as well
because I ended up that way, too,
hard and cold as a stone,
and I made it out of her alive.
The casket was very small.
It was closed.
It was deep red wood with a glossy finish.
I don't remember why she chose it
over the other tiny caskets.
Maybe because it looked so much like him.
About Frankie Romano:
Frankie Romano is a 20-year-old hypochondriac with a really pretty bicycle. She likes holding those little red plastic "fortune telling" fish, because they always curl up the same way in her hand: fickle.