(from Zoetrope Vol. 16, No. 1)
Words and phrases we’re taught not to use when dealing with the donor family: harvest, excision, cadaver, organ procurement, dead as a doornail.
Words we do use: saving the lives of others, donation, transplant, every form of to give. We talk about the patient in the past tense—What would she have wanted?—even as the blip of the heart monitor persists in the background.
This is the prizewinning story from the 2011 Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, and it’s good. I’ve never read a story about organ donation before, and LaBrie seems to know what she’s talking about. The structure also works really well. We get to see the way the narrator’s home life is affected by her job, how it changes her.