Author: Coleman Bomar
She clenched teeth, winced, her toes curling against the black sand of Tennessee nuclear wasteland. A home birth, on radiated dunes under the metal roof burnt wood shack makeshift, alone.
She squeezed the bent ring and wished that he was here with her, that she could squeeze his hand instead, squeeze the life out as if to say “this should be your pain too.”
She focused, truly forgetting for the first time in months his face like a cooking meatball, the white ash smell flash, people crushed, crawling, pushing.
Would it just be dirt and early dying for them? She looked to the corner at the jerry-built lead crib, like a meat freezer. Her breathing was harsh.
She thought of her chest, if the milk would be toxic.
How many limbs could an infant have and live?
How many mouth openings? How many hands or lack thereof? She felt the head crown. It felt round.
The child slid out in what sounded like one piece. She bent over quickly, and cut the cord with her front teeth, picking him up as he squirmed so new and inconceivable. Him. All the fingers all the toes but his face, just one eye adorning his forehead like a round opalescent green jewel, blinking. He had such long lashes. He cried. She looked at him with wide wet pupils, open-mouthed, and held him closer.