Stretch Out Your Hand

I saw it go out from the ends of her hair. So many long strands of light. Milky, drifting upward—each hair casting off something that looked like silk until all the filaments were impossibly thin and lucent and seemed lost where they passed through the lamplight. They rose from Ruth’s head and congregated in the joists of the ceiling. A bright, glowing nest.

“The fever’s broken,” my father said. He lifted my younger sister out of her bed, legs dangling, toes pointed down. Her arms hung unfastened behind his neck, where the fingers curled up in two loose fists. He pressed his cheek against her forehead to feel her temperature again and he held it there for a long moment.

“Momma, it’s broken,” he said, nearly shouting at my mother.

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