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The Social Worker Remembers

By Kyle Minor From Issue No. 5

The infant on the doorstep in the bucket with the two bottles of breast milk spoiling and the stuffed monkey with the red head.

The naked infant on the doorstep in the bucket with the rash on his belly and the port-wine stain across his face.

The infant fully clothed in the dumpster behind the public library, but dead.

Have you ever climbed into an attic to retrieve a child’s cowering cat while her father surrenders his gun to the deputy?

Have you ever given your confession in the same booth where the jailed father told you he knelt and unbuckled the belt of the priest?

In the morning she brushes her teeth and she remembers.

That same night she pulls the covers over her head and still remembers.

One time her boss said you have to be empathetic but detached. You can’t take your work home with you.

Once on the city bus home she watched a woman haul off and slap her three-year-old daughter across the face.

It is your duty to report, but there are reasons not to report.

I can tell you which are the good foster homes and which are less than good.

Did you know you can make a certain kind of living packing your house with children no one else wants to warehouse?

One Saturday there was a child, and his orbital bone had been smashed with a rock. What do you want? she said. You can have anything you want.

I want, he said, a bottle of chocolate Yoo-Hoo.

About Kyle Minor More From Issue No. 5