Eva often wondered these days whether, if they’d had children, that would have given Alfred more hope for the future. She’d had uterine cancer at a young age and was barren. All of life, she’d come to think, was just making it through another day, squeezing whatever drops of enjoyment you can.

Occasionally, she’d dream of the daughter or son they’d never had, or even of a whole flock of children. In one dream she cradled a baby, felt its warmth, saw its tiny, intricate face gazing at her, awoke hearing its tiny laughter. In other dreams, ethereal spirits appeared before her, scampering. Elk and turtle, red fox and bobcat. Her children. The dreams were always delightful, but she awoke saturated with bittersweet loss.

If they had had children, would that have given her husband more hope for the future? Or even more despair, as now they’d have something precious to lose? Perhaps despair was in Alfred’s blood, a genetic predisposition. Still, he’d always been happy enough, she thought, until the last year.



Ethan Goffman

Ethan Goffman’s first volume of poetry, Words for Things Left Unsaid, was published by Kelsay Books in March of 2020.  His poems and flash fiction have appeared in Alien Buddha, Ariel Chart, BlazeVox, Bradlaugh’s Finger, Burgeon, EarthTalk, The Loch Raven Review, Mad Swirl, Madness Muse, Ramingo’s Blog, The Raw Art Review, Setu, Verse Virtual and elsewhere.  Ethan is co-founder of It Takes a Community, a Montgomery College initiative bringing poetry to students and local residents.  He is also founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 22:23