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Her baby whose death struggles must have been intense. The boys hovered around them, each saying something their mother could not hear, as she lifted the soft weight of her baby into her arms, felt the dangling of arms and legs. It was a dead pig. Some forest spirit with a cruel and malicious nature had played a horrendous trick. It had taken her baby while the boys were busy playing and had replaced her with the corpse of a dead pig. By the time my grandma made it home, the little body in her hand was stiff and cold.

The funeral was brief, for the life that had been taken had been short. The guides who led the little spirit to the ancestors had only a small stretch of road to walk in the afterlife. The rituals took no more than a day, the burial no more than an hour, but the grief would last a lifetime.

Grandma loved the baby in the days after death just as she had loved the baby in the days after her birth. Her breasts ached with milk.

The haunting tale of Mae Nak's ghost

Her womb hungered for the warmth of a beating heart. Grandma cried for her first daughter on the path to the garden every day. The sun has just begun its course across the high heavens. The moon will soon start its course across the high heavens. My grandmother cried for a long time, she cried across the birth of her six younger children, two of whom were daughters.

She cried through all of the births her grandchildren. She cried until the very end when there were no more tears to cry. They were part of her, a part I loved. After me, my mother had six miscarriages, all little boys, all formed enough so the adults could see that they were baby boys, but born far too small, and sometimes too blue, and other times too wet with blood to survive.

Gaze trained far from me, eyes dried, my mother used to tell me about how much she loves me, how much that love belongs to me, but how much it was rooted in the other babies who came after me. When I grew up and I fell in love and I got married and I started thinking about my own probable babies, I did not think of the ghost babies in my life; I thought only of the live ones I saw in the arms of the world. When I was pregnant, I was filled with thoughts of the future, not at all caught up with how the past is what anchors us in the present.

An English name I had heard only on television. A place I had never been.

Jamie Berube

A possibility I would never know. In the Hmong culture, we bury our dead babies. Macmillan and Company, limited. Amaury Cassell and Company. Singapore: Flame of the Forest, Retrieved on 5 February Retrieved Indonesian mythology.

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Hudoq Kuyang Lembuswana. Sureq Galigo.

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Ebu gogo. Hainuwele O Tokata Suanggi. Malaysian mythology. Bisan Bobohizan Bomoh Dukun Pawang. Datuk Keramat.

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