After Donika Kelly
He expects, in short,
a truncated life.
By now he knows intervention
is only postponement.
Today I calculated how old I’ll be when my parents die.
If my dad lives as long as his dad did,
then he’ll die at 90. That’s 1.2 times as long as the
average American male.
If my mom lives 1.2 times as long as the
average American female,
then she’ll die at 96.
So, when she
dies, I’ll be 59, and when he
dies, I’ll be 53.
I’ll spend six years of my life without a dad, and then
the rest of my life with no parents at all.
Is an adult without parents an orphan?
Is my dad an orphan?
I glance at him when I mention my grandparents,
searching for meaning in the inscrutable movements of his face.
Of course, there’s no actual way to predict when someone will die.
But I was born counting backwards.
I know everything.
About the Author Lucy Doherty is a disabled writer from Madison, WI. Her work has appeared in Sage Cigarettes, Unpublishable, and Arboretum, and she self-published the chapbook Secrets in 2020. She is a student at Columbia College Chicago where she studies creative writing. Find her at lucydoherty.carrd.co. About the Artist Shannon is a Taiwanese-American artist based in Chicago who loves queer comics, diverse characters, and stories made with lots of love. His work can be found at farawaystardive.wordpress.com.
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