Home Belly Wants

I want a womb. I wonder if mother notices how hungry I am for hers, how I look at her belly, expanded past her hip bones, filled with cakes, cookies, meats dripping with sauce, upset that those stretch marks are from sugar and fat. My own body grew and stretched out a foreign woman with familiar skin.

I am jealous of the kids who can point to their mothers and say, this is where my synapses were brought together, strapped and crisscrossed in pink. Electrified. Or this is the place where my body-cord pulsed with blood, was connected to the source. Where is my source? To what ash have I sprung, and to what dust shall I return? I am homeless in a home.

In bright and cold September mother comes into the basement where I sleep, cocooned by the darkness of bulbs that have never been replaced. Her voice is soft. She says my name. She says my name again. Are you awake? The doctor called. It's diseased from disuse. They have to cut it out. Are you awake?

We sit, together, on an old rocking chair that was my grandmother's. Though I am grown, I curl up on her lap and put my hands on her belly like a shaman, whispering healing nonsense. I get down on my knees and kiss her swollen belly.

They cut it out. I wonder, after they sliced and diced, if they held it in their hands like something precious. Was it deflated, rubbery, bloody skin ripped apart? Or was it golden, like the ball the princess dropped, a treasure hidden so far in her body she forgot it was there and, like all treasures, have a way of being discovered?

When she is healed, we spend our evenings on her bed. Her belly is misshaped. There is an indentation where parts used to be.

Come here, she says. Look, they made room for you.

The space is big enough for my head. It is comfortable. My face makes an outline in her skin. Mother wraps her fingers in my yellow hair and holds tight.

About the author:

Alison Balaskovits is currently an MFA candidate at Bowling Green University in Ohio. She has previously been published in The Allegheny Review, Children, Churches and Daddies, and has upcoming work in The Mad Hatters Review.