There are three things the woman tells strangers: she is a prostitute,
she is drinking coffee these days, and there is always a loud buzzing
She thinks about titles, frequently. The gravity they hold! "What if
children were allowed in opera houses?" She thinks. "Did capitalism
make me hate my mother?" The woman picks at her skin and the
sheets are red from menstrual blood. The baby coos at her side.
"Did you know mushrooms are all connected?" The woman whispers
to the baby. "Like, underground. They are just one big orgasm." She
says. "I mean, organism."
The woman tells the baby that cell phones are made in sweatshops by
girls the girl's age.
The woman's mother's womb animates the woman in just over nine
months about 32 years ago. The woman's mother's new groom
inspects hail damaged Fords and the woman's mother's fibrous
cocoon comes unglued, drained of liquid. The woman appears at the
opening of her mother's insides. It is the summer of helicopter seeds;
the earth is all swallowed up in the stuff, and the prairie sun is hot,
Then the woman grows and grows and is herself in labor. It is the
summer of Joshua trees and the earth--and her body-- are
extraterrestrial. White, perfect buds. Humans learn the language of
trees and the trees say "ooooo, another equally significant, just
different, part of me" and the sky turns silky with red-purple and the
baby's eyes are stormy. The woman looks at the man. He floats up like
a balloon, a blue balloon. They dance under pale light until the baby
swims out, out of amniotic sea stuff and hemorrhoids the size of
apples. The baby has roses for feathers, preternatural, really.
The woman does not speak for a decade. Humans are so complex!
Humans try hard--they just keep trying. The baby studies rabbits on
YouTube. Sometimes, the bunnies' pellets fall to the kitchen floor and
the woman sweeps them up in her hands. "More?" "Shoe?" "Milk?"
The woman is a public woman and this brings great sorrow, she
The woman has an abortion; in a mop sink, she gets sick by dawn.
"Hello? ... Hell-LO?"
Lifetimes in hiccups. Two packs of cigarettes a day only cost the
woman thirty crowns. There is a gypsy man in an old castle and at
night he flutters a red scarf under sheets of absinthe and full moons
and where flowers blossom from the bosoms of corpses. She collects
little trinkets and wooden puppets for the baby, who is not born for
hiccups and hiccups. When the baby is inside her, she shares a dream
with the woman. Blue, like water, like blood, like... When the man's
mother dies, he holds her hand and says "no more mistakes."
The man throws his head at a wall.
"You hurt," he tells the woman. The phone rings every morning at 10
o'clock but there is never anyone on the other end.
The woman tries to make friends. It is so difficult! Mothers at the
playground think the woman hisses and coils. She is not to be taunted
or poked with sticks. She carries rattles in her pocket.
The voice on the television says, "You, You there for 600." The woman
is surprised to see herself there. "What is ham?" She answers. The
man hoisting cars stares at the woman then he stares at the baby,
who, in turn, asks, "what is millet? What is the Messiah?" The woman
tries to be wise in her choices. She tries to be clever about the Daily
Double. When the woman makes deadlines, the audience applauds
but sometimes they laugh at her. It appears that the loud buzzing
noise is coming from that black box; infinite refractions.
The baby has a spoiling of cake at the woman's mother's house. "Is
this a druggie thing? Are they underwater?" The woman's mother
asks. "Why is a sponge wearing square pants?" One day, the woman's
mother says, "I loved you even then, you know." And the woman
When the woman's mother's mother dies, mourners come in nice
shoes, the kinds of shoes you keep in shoeboxes until someone dies.
Later, they remark that the funeral had been "nice," in duck themed
kitchens with books that don't open. The woman's mother's mother
appears from behind a copper saint and says, "I must be dead." Snakes
fall out of hair.
The woman wonders if, To her husband she is after all nothing but the
mother of his legitimate children and heirs, his chief housekeeper and
the supervisor of his female slaves, whom he can and does take as
concubines if he so fancies.
The woman is paralyzed with such great fear of men! When she is
onstage or in hotels, she thinks, "now, you'll never not see the things
of men and of course they do not see you" and the woman is heavy
with knowledge. Now, when she steps outside, she weighs 300
pounds. Old ladies with raccoons on their heads or maybe heads for
raccoons say, "for this I know for the bible tells me so."
The baby grows and grows into a little person who frets and screams
and the woman thinks, "I am not a person who can do this." She reads
that a woman put her toddler in the microwave. The woman checks
the microwave. There is no baby there there. She cries, sometimes.
There, there. No one roots for the whore, she thinks, not even the
scoundrel who pays!
The woman is sailing on a silver saucer with the baby all cuddly and
warm at her breast. The baby coos and the woman whispers, "I love to
you." The clouds pass overhead and the woman is surprised no one
has mentioned the earth's pirouettes or its diminishing water yet