I was pregnant once, a long time ago. When it came time to give birth I said none of
that vaginal stuff for me. I want a caesarean. And doc, don’t you dare cut me on the
bikini line. Don’t hide my scar under a roll of belly fat. No. I want to be split
straight up the middle, pubis to sternum. He did as I requested and peeled me back,
layer by layer. Sliced through the stratum cornea of the epidermis, deeper through
the dermis, past the subcutaneous fatty tissues of the hypodermis, through the
abdominal muscle, more fat, lots of fat, tiny arteries and veins and finally
exposing the spotted pink balloon of the uterus. Another long slice revealed what I
already knew. A deformed and unbreathing blob the doctor called ‘boy.’
I didn’t hold it, no need to look or bury. Just pitch it in the trash. Jar it in
formaldehyde. Sit it on your desk or bookshelf. Pass it around a cackling circle of
knitting ninnies. Whatever you gotta do, doc, really. It’s not mine.
Two weeks later (and without provocation), I squatted on a two-handled hacksaw and
rode it. I rocked my hips back and forth, back and forth, splitting myself in two
along the natural perforation of my labia, perineum and the smooth fissure between
my buttocks. Somebody found me and called 911. They sewed me back up at one hospital
and sent me somewhere else to talk about the ‘baby’. Post-partum depression they
whispered. There were lots of whispers. Females wearing tight buns and white shoes
came by a million times a day to pump me full of pills and fluids until I could no
longer feel or think, much less talk about whatever it was they wanted me to talk
about. I heard them saying things. Things like, denial. Depression. Borderline
personality disorder. Paranoid. Possible schizophrenia. No coping mechanism. That
roommate of mine must be really fucked up.
I study my caesarean scar in the bathtub. I run my index finger up and down the
raised line of pink that halves my abdomen and feels like a half-melted rope of
licorice. I bury myself under the weight of the water. Let the air out of my lungs
one bubble at a time. Feel my hair fan out and glide through the tepid waves. I
throw one leg over the side of the tub, then the other. I jam a fist deep in my
vagina and try to pull my uterus out. I scrape at the walls getting thick chunks of
endometrium under my fingernails. The tub fills with blood. I slide my hand through
the cervix and try to reach the fallopian tubes. I know that if I can tie them
around the uterus like a lasso, I can pull the ovaries out, too.
It doesn’t work though. I am not quick enough. The nurse finds me before I finish
and rushes me off to surgery. I try to tell the doctor to cut me vertically, but
they slam an oxygen mask over my face and force a bag full of shut-her-up through my
When I get out of here, I will find a way to finish what was started a long time
ago. I will find a logging plant and ride the conveyor belt between the cypresses
and pines. I will lie on my back, spread my legs wide and hold my arms straight out
like the penultimate Jesus. I will jut my chin in the air and howl when I get to the
end and the spinning blade pushes its way through me from anus to scalp. I will fall
to the floor and my halves will face each other. My left arm will grab my right.
They will celebrate when everything inside is free to run circles around the rest of
me, once and for all.
Leigh Hughes lives in Texas with her husband and three children and is the
Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the literary journal edifice WRECKED. Her work has
appeared in NFG Magazine, Word Riot, The Glut, Gator Springs Gazette, Sexy Stranger
#5 and Moondance, as well as several other online and print venues and is
forthcoming in BOOM! For Real, Volume 2 and VOX.
© 2005 Underground Voices