My Body Feels Full of Stars by Lydia Copeland Gwyn

My Body Feels Full of Stars

Mom is in the bathroom with a miscarriage. She lets me hold her hand on the toilet and tells me about the baby coming out of her the same way she told me about menstruation last week when I learned she was pregnant. This time we’re crying. Her hand covering mine is like the wet place in a layer of leaves.

I’m ten and I know what it’s like down there, the folds and valleys. I know about the different holes.

“Sometimes this happens. Sometimes they don’t stick,” she says.

I imagine a sexless newborn. Pink in a cloud of blankets, and then I imagine the pink on a white tissue, the stain of blood slowed down. The baby is a mass of cells. A knot coming undone and mixing with mom’s fluids, turning into a red cloud in the toilet water.

I think of my birth head coming down and leaving mom, the wisps of black hair fine as filament, my long neck balanced in the doctor’s hand. All of me soft and flexible like the tip of a nose.

 

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Lydia Copeland Gwyn’s stories and poems have appeared in Elm Leaves JournalAppalachian HeritageGlimmer TrainThe Florida ReviewHermeneutic ChaosNew World Writing and others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her flash fiction chapbook won second place in the 2014 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Contest. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband, son, and daughter and works at the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University.

 

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