Stinking Dirt

by Ann Wuehler

My firstborn crawls out of the hole I dug with my strong hands beneath Snakestone Bridge. I pant beneath the arch of stone and rotting wood. Her tiny hands grip my out-flung arm. I wince but keep still as she slices my finger with her new sharp teeth, as she feeds from that slice, suckling. I turn my head—my naked, dirty child, stillborn, but now alive, alive.

Bury her beneath the old bridge, my granny told me. In the stinking dirt, yes.

My baby crouches on my chest, my own blood dripping on my skin. Her smile delights me.

Ann Wuehler



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