Tania Hershman




Hold the Baby

They said she had to hold the baby so she held the baby even though she had no notion why she held it, him or her. They said she couldn’t look to see so in her mind she thought of it as both, a Jenny and a James, and she knew it wasn’t right but there was nothing more to say.  They said they’d run some tests while she was holding it, experiments of a sort, but she was not so clear on what sort. Perhaps they measured angles, how she held it, how it sat there. Maybe they counted breaths, hers and its, or maybe blood flow or pressure, with machines she couldn’t see. Maybe they wired up her brain and knew what she was thinking, feeling. Some time had passed, maybe minutes, and then she wanted to drop the baby. Not hard, not on the floor, just to not hold it any more.




Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008; commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers). Her poems and stories have been published in print and online and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Tania is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University exploring the intersection between creative writing and particle physics. She is co-writer and editor of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, Dec 2014). www.taniahershman.com

Note: Hold the Baby was first published in Butcher’s Dog

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