It has a full set of teeth and shouts her name, demanding conversation after months of entrapment in that dark wet space—it wants words, not food. And it is not forced out of her but pulls itself free, tiny fingers stretching for the light and scratching at the white skin of her thigh. Another rises in her belly like bread dough in the hours from breakfast to dinner, spilling out onto the kitchen floor and accompanied by a rush of her insides—its naked head blinking and slick against the muscle of her stomach and liver. Some simply appear like a hiccup mid-sentence, crying in her arms as though forever lost and returned home. She forgets their names and their happening, searching the walls of her home for proof of a hoax or a haunting. Or they transform, shape-shifting into horses or beans or dolls, masks on the walls or reflections that speak Peter Pan memories of thimbles and shadows. And then the ghost child, an infant of smoke and glass that holds to her like guilt even as she screams and claws and tries to pluck it from her skin. In the darkness of early morning, they gather around her bed like homunculi, whispering mater matris, mater matris, mater matris, pressing the words into her sleep and burying them bone-deep.
1 September 2013