Lauren Asks Me about Childbirth (Hilary Melton)

Close your eyes, imagine you have a seed
stuck to the roof of your mouth. Soon
it sprouts and grows into a watermelon. Your
hard and soft palates expand to accommodate
the growth.  Your brain flattens against your
skull.  The top and back of your head swells.
When the fruit is almost too big so that you
think it will cut off your breathing, it drops
and releases its hold.  By now the watermelon
is enormous and there is only one way out.
Every muscle on your face and scalp contorts
and spasms.  You sweat and struggle.  You feel
weak and know the longer this takes the less
energy you’ll have to do what you just now
realize you have to do.  Somewhere deep inside
there is cold dead calm.  You open your mouth
wide and wider.  Your jaw cracks, the bones
break out of their joints.  You stretch your lips
further til they start to bleed.  A doctor takes
a scalpel and without numbing, makes a two-inch
slash-from the corner of your lip up through
your cheek.  You don’t feel the knife because
the pain you already feel is worse, worse
than razor sharp steel slicing through your raw
bleeding lip and into the flesh of your cheek.

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