• harleyclaes

Womb Diary by Whitney Roberts Hill


by Whitney Roberts Hill

I am invisible. No one has ever seen me. When you were a baby your parents parted the folds at my door and wiped them clean. They let water run across my sill. When you were older they laughed at your nakedness, the glee you took in wearing my entrance uncovered around the house.

But no one has ever seen me.

Until eleven weeks ago no one had even seen my graven image. The black-and-white echo of me. And even then I kept a part hidden. The technician jabbed and jabbed, pushed up and inside you, but one of my arms was behind a rope of colon. My fluted hand obscured. The round fruit, cove of eggs, just beyond my fingers, invisible.

I am both the one reaching and the reached-for thing. I am the undulating cillia like grasses. I am the waterfall of sticky web to catch him and lift him into us. I am the still pond; I am the growing soil— the composted detritus becoming the thick lining of earth. I am the seasons. The place where three generations intersect. The chance your children had to experience your mother from the inside out. I am already everything. I contain all futures. I will not be reinvented. I will only drop my veils month after month without baring my face.

Who will see me?

Only your children, if they live long enough, if they are forged in my chamber, and not gleaned from somewhere else.

Only they will open their fish eyes to see my limits, through a caul, beyond a membrane, they will see me, with unfixed fetal stares. They will know my shape, and change it.

Or perhaps one day a surgeon, removing me from you after all these years; or another gloved one, pulling back your shriveled flesh looking for a cause of your ending. Silly order; all along it was inscribed in your birth. Maybe one of them will see me in my final state.

Proximal cause.

Distal cause.

The cause of death is birth.

Is your ache the same old one? To be seen (from the inside out)? To be understood?

To bring something of yourself into the world?

To keep the channel open between the unborn and the born, the undying and the dead?

I did that.

I cannot not do that.

I empty myself and build myself again.

I hold life and death.

The technician declared me empty, but you already knew that. You’d already caught the living dead between your legs.

I am the channel. Open.

You are right to expect this of me.

I have done it.

Whitney Roberts Hill is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte where she is working on an autofiction novel, Leda. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction has appeared in Streetlight Magazine, Life in 10 Minutes, Nanny Magazine, The Mighty, and more. She is a reviewer for the American Book Review, and a former editorial assistant at Qu Literary Magazine. Whitney is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Unspeakable: Stories of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth, from L10 Press. Whitney lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.

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By Harley Claes

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