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Melanie Rae Thon

Melanie Rae Thon is the author of the novels Sweet Hearts, Meteors in August, and Iona Moon, and the short story collections First, Body and Girls in the Grass. Her fiction has been included in O. Henry Prize Stories, two volumes of Best American Short Stories, and two volumes of the Pushcart Prize. In 1996, Granta included her on its list of twenty “Best Young American Novelists.” Originally from Montana, she now teaches at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


Love Song for the Mother of No Children

Spring 2008 | Fiction

You followed Oleta Esteban every time you saw her. At the grocery store she was buying frozen peas, milk and bread, chicken broth, two bananas. Is this what women ate after they lost their children? Oleta looked as if she scavenged crumbs left for birds, seeds scattered. Brittle, she was, an old child, thin bones beneath yellow skin, suddenly, terribly visible.

You remembered her in a red dress and white sandals, Oleta before Dorrie and Elia died, arms bare, toenails painted. She dropped her sandals in the dark grass to dance with her children barefoot.