from Saint X
[Despite years of practice, I never step lightly enough. A body has heft. Since girlhood I’ve pictured my organs excised and arranged in pretty jars on the windowsill. What lightness I would become, a mere space between air.
On television the women’s limbs are always splayed. It is always women kept on ice in a bathtub or left to turn rigid in a mattress. Women, we love you, with your bloodless wrists. Sit pretty.
For six months men pointed at my face and discussed what a shame it would be to cut into it. In the end I kept my tumor, my tiny, soft-tissue twin. Shark twin, Cameron. I am never alone. They cut out my mother’s uterus and sewed the rest of her organs into place. I am sorry to have wrecked her womb. Sorrier to tell her secrets here. Mother, I have laid you open by existing.
My mother was shoe shopping with my sister when her water broke with me. She bought a sweatshirt to tie around her waist, finished shopping, went home and made dinner for the three other children. The doctor called and asked my father if he was prepared to deliver me on the kitchen table. My mother did not birth me for hours. My father and the doctor watched UM lose in the Sugar Bowl. I was born and my mother named me without forethought.
A baby in the womb is sterile and inherits its microbiome during childbirth.
I imagine being excised from my mother like a tumor.
I imagine the bloom of my gut. How it mirrored my mother’s.]
Caroline Cabrera is author of Saint X (forthcoming, Black Lawrence Press), The Bicycle Year (H_NGM_N BKS 2015), Flood Bloom (H_NGM_N BKS 2013), and the chapbook Dear Sensitive Beard (dancing girl press 2012). She is editor of Bloom Books, an imprint of Jellyfish Magazine. She lives in South Florida.