My stupid sister says she wants to be a Sudanese baby in Darfur. Mommy says when we find her, she’ll wish she was a motherless African orphan. It’s just emotion talking; I’m just emotional too. Daddy loves the babies in Darfur. He tries to get their pictures in the paper. He leaves the door to his office open, on sick days and healthy days, but we know not to disturb him when he’s working, which is always. Eating his meals or taking his pills, he’s thinking about babies in Darfur; sending his emails, too. I heard him on the phone tell an interviewer he can’t remember what it’s like to be without them in his thoughts. He uses my old room to be sick in. He uses my sister’s room for the babies. She’s probably not smart to call herself a refugee. Daddy gets up early when he goes to bed at all. Murder doesn’t sleep, he says, and neither can the truth, and someone who could pressure someone is always at a desk somewhere in the world. I just want a regular birthday with candles and presents. They’ve tested our bones for marrow. We’ve been to all the places my sister usually goes to hide; maybe she’s in Africa, I don’t know. I want to change the world, but closer to home. Everyone can do something, I told the interviewer. If teaching college kids about Shakespeare was helpful, I’d like to do that. I’ll bet he had something useful to say about killing. But if I could save a family by sending an email, I wouldn’t go to class. I’d see what I could do. Mommy’s not sure. We’re at the bus station buying all the papers. She won’t tell me why she’s crying, but I can guess.

Copyright ©January 15, 2007 David Hodges