I’m in the dining room, giving birth. It wasn’t planned but here I am, on the table. It is dark outside and the chandelier is on above me. I’m clinging to the glow. There are women and one man. The man is thick and has stubble on his face. The stubble bothers me, even in the middle of all the pain.

The red walls are duller than the red that’s coming out of me. That red, blood, is the color of raspberry jam. It’s bright and announcing itself unabashedly. I can feel the stickiness of it and want to tell everyone to eat, so I do. There’s plenty. They ignore me.

I am sweating and feel a bomb going off inside of me. And then another. The man is smiling. Another. I concentrate on the light and brush my wings against a bulb before landing on top of it. It’s the thing I’ve been searching for in the dark.



Elizabeth Schmuhl’s work appears or is forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Pank, Big Lucks, Birkensnake, Paper Darts and elsewhere. She illustrates essays for The Rumpus and makes small movement films. Find her online at elizabethschmuhl.com.

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