After the Theatre

Details seem to leave me the moment I want to write them, your soft round cheek now on my shoulder. How the doctors cut you out of me as if …

Illustration by Jason Logan
Illustration by Jason Logan

Details seem to leave me the moment I want to write them,
your soft round cheek now on my shoulder. How the doctors
cut you out of me as if I were a French bulldog whose too-slight
pelvis couldn’t let a pup down. How I said like a mantra (wide awake)
trust these people, trust these people, trust these people
and did I say that aloud or only to myself in that operating room
lit by rainbow-metal-honeycomb lights? How I was lifted!
And how your father was there beside me in blue scrubs.
I heard the nurse ask did you wash your hands and he said no
then washed his hands; how I said, I wish you could
knock me out then they held you out to me and said aren’t you glad
we didn’t knock you out
? Your little eyes wide open, looking.
How I couldn’t take you; how they gave you to your father; how I couldn’t
feel an ice cube on my chest or an incision or your father holding
my hand (did that happen?) but, still, I could hear. What happened?
You happened. How there were barely twenty minutes from the time
they asked me if I was wearing any jewellery (no) or nail polish (yes?)
to the time they were lifting me onto the table and stretching
a blue curtain in front of my face so I couldn’t see and I couldn’t see . . .
but I could feel—a tug. How in the pushing and pulling
from the other side of that curtain someone said: She’s really on the left,
and I already knew. How in forty-one weeks, I’d never slept on my left
because that’s where you were, darling, so as not to squash you.
So as not to restrict the flow of blood to your heart.

This appeared in the October 2016 issue.

Elizabeth Bachinsky
Elizabeth Bachinsky teaches creative writing at Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia.

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