Lisa Kelly


When Minerva looked into the face of her child asleep beside her in the bed, she saw peace, she saw freshness, she saw the world the way it should be. Contentment slept in Kiji's lips, pink brown lips closed loosely like a small bow. In the curl of her lashes rested hope. In her balled fists, strength and vulnerability. Minerva hated to wake her. The morning light had just begun to diffuse blue-grey into the small bedroom of Minerva's mother's house. They had to get up early to make it to court on time. The lawyer had said they needed to be there by eight. After dressing herself, Minerva slipped the baby's night clothes off and gently slid her head and arms into the ruffled red dress that James had bought for her. Kiji looked like a valentine in it, all red with white lace. James even bought her a little bow to put in her thick black curls. It was made from white satin ribbon and had a red heart in the middle. Minerva was so proud of the gift that she even told the lady lawyer down at child support about it. That lawyer had smiled a wily, sly kind of smile when she told Minerva to clothe the baby in that pretty dress. She called it "a nice touch." Minerva had looked puzzled. To explain, the child-support lawyer added, "Just in case." Just in case, what? Minerva wanted to know. Just in case James denied that the baby was his. If he did, then the lawyer could ask Minerva who had bought the child her dress

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