Sabrina Stoessinger

Sometimes I want the baby dead.

She mentions this sporadically as she ripens. It’s taken awhile but now I’m accustomed to her public outbursts, the bystanders confused and shocked glares. They plead silently with me, eyebrows raised, heads tilted. Isn’t there something I should be doing to stop her? What kind of woman says things like this in the organic fruit section? I only pause to meet their eyes, occasionally smile and continue on. The shopping basket hooked into the bend of my arm, my best friend and my baby.

I’m aware I can’t control any of it. But I keep trying. I present offerings daily, wishing to appease her. Occasionally something strikes her interest and she snatches it up, hoards it away for the days when she will no longer be worshipped. There seems to be no reason for what is favoured, is coveted as a treasure; just when I think I’ve discovered a pattern or a preference the next one is rejected. The unworthy are burned. Flung against the wall. She threw the amethysts in with the goldfish.

I read somewhere that pregnant women suffer from memory problems. Perhaps that’s why she keeps recounting the story from when she was eight. Or maybe seven. She’s not really sure. A stray in the neighbourhood disappeared to have kittens, never to be seen again. Years later her father was renovating the porch and they found five tiny skeletons. She says she can’t remember the rest.

I rush to her apartment this morning to tell her the perfect baby name. I ring the bell three times before I can finally hear the hard rubber of her soles scraping across the floor. She cracks the door just enough so I can see her face and the same shirt I’ve seen all week. She’s so swollen, the shirt so tight, hints of her belly-button poke through. She half-heartedly repeats the name, butchering the pronunciation. I try to correct her, breaking the syllables down. No point anyway, she says and shuts the door.

Sabrina Stoessinger has a nasty addiction to Wordscraper on Facebook and wishes you would hurry up and invite her to a game already. Her fiction and poetry have been published in numerous journals, both online and in print. She has work forthcoming in Contemporary Verse 2 and filling Station.