Sudden Fiction

by janeeatonhamilton

Hummingbird

She loved it, this baby who flitted from corner to corner against the ceilings of her house.  She loved it, surely.  She was its mother.  She didn’t love its mouth dragging down her breasts and cracking open her nipples, the spit-up curdled milk tacking lazily down her shoulders and soaking her shirts, she didn’t love the crying or all the diapers, the sweet yellow shit she wiped off with a warm damp cloth.  She did love the gurgles of its pleasures, its fat extremities, its bow-legs and the soft spot on its fuzzy warm skull.  She loved the idea of ten miniature fingers and toes.  But she loved it best when it ascended because it was always happy, always supremely cherubic in air.  She was frightened to take it for a walk in the stroller.  What if?  In the bakery?  At the park?  Already she had discovered it in the eaves of the attic, hovering beneath the splintery wooden roof.  She wished it would take her up, with her suitcase of baby supplies, with her stretch marks and milk-plumped breasts.  She kept the placenta in a wooden bowl in the refrigerator.  She buried it beside the tomatoes in the garden.  The baby dipped and flew curlicues through the leaves of the pear tree above her head.  The beat and silvery breeze of its wings swept over her and she stood, lifting her arms.  Her hands dripped birth blood and dirt.  The baby she surely loved rose and rose, rose and rose.

Jane Eaton Hamilton from Body Rain, Brick Books