The Pregnancy Scare
She missed her period, her breasts grew tender and for a week she was a guest in her own womb. Alone, she felt a presence around her inside, a larval dream. She saw her older children stretch beyond her reach pedalling too fast into their futures, while she prepared to be consumed knowing it was more necessary, a gift, or sadder that she knew. What of her dreams now that these years would be taken for a child? She had become a careful dreamer, shepherding her small moments of solitude like a flock of penned sheep. It could be sucked out of her, what little claim to life this vague sweetness had. But she knew her breasts, then, would always ache for its little mouth that never sucked. Her husband spoke and touched her with unremembered reverence. Was he eager for this? More of the work done by duty, beyond thought? Perhaps then, he might not see his own dreams waiting for him at night like a woman and he too exhausted to desire them. One night, just after supper she felt the blood start but said nothing. Bright red on white paper, seeing it before had been a wild relief. But now she felt only foolish and empty, set down again into her own flat landscape her unseen companion gone, a myth.