Love Thy Neighbor

by Barrie Miller Kirby

There was no 911 to call in 1951 when Lois went into premature labor, so instead of looking up the phone number of the rescue squad she called a number she knew and summoned the person who could get to her the quickest. Irene came from across the street to the bed where Lois lay and bled until the child she conceived after eight years of marriage lay dead between her legs. Irene wrapped the bloody mass in a towel and called the doctor. She did as he instructed. With sorrow but without ceremony she took the boy — beloved but unnamed — to the bathroom and flushed him down the toilet. Years later when Lois’s body twisted and fell over the kitchen table, her husband Eddie didn’t call 911 — he called Irene.


Barrie Miller Kirby is a writer living in North Carolina.