My husband’s pregnancy was no surprise. At her party, he unfastened her brassiere from outside her blouse. An octopus at a typewriter. “I thought it was you,” he said. Now, he is round, pink, an Easter egg, a Honeybaked Ham. The life inside a mockery of my own vacancy. The neon lights read there’s room at the inn, the arrow pointing to my belly, pregnant only with carbohydrates and liquor. It grows, at first an olive. Then a fist. I picture a small middle finger, the nail translucent and pliant, raised as if to say “I thought it was you.”

Katie M. Zeigler is a writer and professor living in Walnut Creek, CA. She has had short stories, flash fiction, and nonfiction published in Digging, Griffel, Stanford Magazine, and Fish Anthology. She was a Tin House YA Workshop participant in 2021 and was recently featured on In Short: The Story Podcast. Zeigler teaches creative writing at Diablo Valley College while pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s College. Visit her at katiemzeigler.com and on Twitter @katiemzeigler.