Two Hundred and Eighty.


Izzy circle


fuck children
fuck peace
fuck the ten commandments
fuck neighbours
fuck resting in peace
fuck the afterlife
fuck chocolate
fuck the United Nations
fuck feeding the ducks on a cold winter’s day
fuck holding hands
fuck ice cream sticky in summer
fuck making out
fuck getting your rocks off
fuck sticking it to the man
fuck the hours spent playing on the swings in the park when you were 9
fuck everything
you stubbed your toe


Sarah circle


I am reading birthing stories again. It comes in waves, this maternal intrigue, this fascination with pushing out a force of existence into the cold bright morning. I am collecting descriptions in the filing cabinet drawer in my head marked ‘babies.’ ‘It’s like pooing a watermelon’ is in there, told by a wide-eyed pregnant German teacher at high school, who can’t have been much older than I am now as she stood in the tiny classroom, mixing the dative case with girly gossip about periods as her stomach swelled. ‘There comes a point in labour when the words run out, when women stop being able to articulate their pain’, on the radio, on a hot night down Punt Road, heading home. ‘The kicking feels like someone dunking a teabag in my stomach’, just the other evening, in the swell of bodies at the North Melbourne Town Hall foyer, as bad pop blares inside. Photos of fathers crying over their partner’s shoulders as tiny hands beam up like flares dripping phosphorous ash. Another drawer, labeled The Things They Don’t Tell You About It, filled with exclamation marks – ‘You bleed for six weeks straight afterwards!’ ‘Almost everyone requires stiches!’ ‘You will shit yourself and you won’t even care!’ In the middle I am wheeling, fascinated and longing, pressing a hand to my belly and imagining a life balled inside. Then out to the margins, kicking and screaming, terrified terrified, too selfish, too young, too frightened to put all my leftover life into a new thing. Never sleeping again, bleeding money and fear and love into four limbs and a world too raw and unkind. Afraid of little lungs bawling on planes. Of SIDS. Of rolling over half-asleep and crushing it to death. Of doing it just because that’s what we do, we make a new thing to fix our broken selves, and watch it fall to pieces as life takes a pick to its heart. Oh baby-o, unborn, oh new favourite thing, oh life all in bits in the side of my belly. Oh thing that is not. Your mother is fluttering.



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