copyright © 2003 Denise Dooley


By Denise Dooley




MAN: She spends twelve hours of her day in bed, holding on to her stomach while it breaths in and out and imagining the skin firm and bubbled. She stretches out her belly button to see what it will look like. When she urinates in the morning she holds a plastic cup beneath her, pays careful attention to the color, watches for changes, she does a take home pregnancy test once a week, twice if she gets suspicious.

WOMAN: It started because he had this weird need to go out walking, I suppose. He rolled me over while I slept, went out, wandered around Bloor street and the allies, ran into some kids who were sitting on a loading dock.

MAN: She’s not silly. She doesn’t think about names, or about decorating, or knitting it tiny little things. She lies there examining the pillowy form of her body, just thinks about having it floating in her,

eating off of her,

changing her shape.

WOMAN: These kids were named Jasmine, Truck and Steph Anne. They were all boys with skinny girl faces and skinny girl hands and sharp little boy hips. Steph Anne said "’Sup" and the three of them just reached right up for his hands and slipped these plastic childrens bracelets and beads right over his wrists, smeared this gelly glitter all over his face, put his hair in tiny pigtails, taught him to dance.

MAN: There was one time on vacation, long time ago, when she’d sunburned every last part of her except for those bathing suit triangles and she’d had to stay in her own room for days because it was too painful to wear clothes. she’d lie on her belly with a thin sheet over her and the sweat that pooled between her thighs and along her shoulder blades stung in the tiny hidden crevices of wounds that were all over all of her skin. She was in the room for almost a week. She could hear the ocean through the window, and her brothers cracking open clams by dropping cement blocks on them.

WOMAN: It started happening often. He’d be walking home from work and tiny little hands with Ring Pops all over them would reach out from a doorway and pull him into a dark, loud warehouse, with lasers and smoke. I imagine he became quite a novelty at these parties - the middleaged e baby, can you believe it? They’d pull him in and paint his nails and dance all around him.

MAN: She imagined that maybe after he went off inside her tunnels and pulled out and went away he’d only go so far as the living room where he’d sit and half listen to the radio news think about how he was there to guard her. She’d fall asleep thinking of him out there, with her hips elevated on a pillow, exhausted by her mental efforts to squeeze eggs down tubes and launch them into tiny babies.

WOMAN: He’d still show up sometimes and crawl into bed, and even though he never quite explained where he had been wives know and I figured well, techno culture sucks people in every once and a while, he’ll get over it. I didn’t ask about it or anything — it might have been embarrassing. Probably there are photos somewhere of him high as hell, wearing fairy wings over his suit and spinning his hands around an imaginary ball, and probably one day we will look at them and laugh fondly and remember our goofy old days.

MAN: She is able to clench the tiny muscle, the one that holds the bladder in, to hold the teaspoonful inside her so that it doesn’t run out and into the sheets. She clenches herself closed until it feels like a swimming cramp. Until it starts to interrupt her breathing.

WOMAN: The one night Truck took his hand and pulled him into a car and they drove all the way to England for this trance festival, probably.

MAN: She has been holding herself closed for six months. Since when he awoke, and rolled her off of him, and shaved, and dressed, and left her a letter she has not yet read all the way through. She has heard that the moisture and ph balances inside her are designed to sustain fertility, and that conception can occur long, long after intercourse. She stopped reading at the name Amy. Her name is not Amy. Six months may be stretching it, but she thinks positive thoughts and wills the cells inside her to bloom and imagines him out, looking. She takes potassium supplements, drinks soy milk, reads Parenting magazines. She hopes she can still make something out of this.




[Denise Dooley's website: The Reina Press]

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