by Heather Hall
Every week she’s compared to fruit- a cranberry, a plum, an avocado, and now in the third week of July, a pineapple. I’m unsure whether that includes the dinosaur armor or just the flesh that lies under it. He looks at my body, nose slightly pinched, as he surveys the purpling welts around my middle, and the rotunda they sag under. He wants his legacy but does not want to bear witness to how it is made; I try not to dislike her for it.
Some nights I dream that the pineapple is taken away from me, and I spend that dream running in abstract circles looking for it. I awaken when I have it cornered, holding out my hand with food or asking for it to come back. I wonder if this is not my dream at all but her dream and her apprehension about the day she will travel through me and out of me and onto the table and into light.
What it must feel like to live in the exterior after months of hearing strange strands of conversation and swallowing opaque bits of fluid. As each day passes and each cell becomes bigger fruit, the body begins to bifold, until it acts as a wishbone and cracks under fluorescents. The pineapple monster is placed on my chest, and she will assign a face to the noise, and this must be her first disappointment.
She is filled with mistranslations; all grunts and gurgles and I worry that it is already painful for her to be alive. She will only sleep on top of me with her feet frogged, my hand tracing the lower case alphabet on her back. There is no dinosaur armor in the laborious uprising of her fingers, as they fasten onto hair and shirt lapels, trying to pull herself back into rotunda position.
She has strange habits when nursing. She circles the entire circumference of my breast with her head and then begins a gentle head banging against them, as if she were a sparrow that has caught her own reflection. The milk runs down and creates crusty craters that gather under her neck, and into this space precisely it becomes necessary for me to go to each day, the place that my nose settles.
But while she smiles into my body, I can’t help but feel a stead fastening horror; one that fruit bowls must feel when new oranges are placed into them. Their enthusiasm for living becoming less perceptible each day, until finally the orange looks down upon its spoiling skin, and the bowl that once contained all that life now stands accused of all that death.
About the Author
Heather went to Pratt and studied art history, and then attended The Art Institute of Chicago for writing. She currently does video essays for Northwestern and enjoys the Home Shopping Network.