Miscarriage rolls off the tongue like a black pram into a gutter. "Your life is like a bad country song," the nurse says, poking my arm with a sharpened bucatini noodle. The gettin' is easy, the keepin' is hard, she sings, every time I lose a baby.
I have two pregnancy dreams on repeat.
One, I'm in a bathroom stall completely lined in red fur, growing and filling the cube until it becomes impossible to breathe.
Two, I get a part in a play, but only when I walk on stage do I realize I am Gretel, crawling into an oven lined with wet carpet.
I am The Bleeding Comedian. I haunt the Catholic hospital with my dark circles, my discman, my outdated humor. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or Dangerfield, Berle, and Rickles? I become anemic. I eat only oranges. I wear only red. I send bloody sheets to my insurance company. I avoid all babies, even on TV. After the fourth loss, I flush the doctors down the toilet with the prenatal vitamins and the Clomid and the clots I once cried over and try a new plan from the back of woman! magazine. It is a regimen of black coffee, red meat, and the collected works of Henry Miller.
I found this copy of woman! magazine in the basement of the white clapboard house across the street, the one with four angry teenage brothers and a chalk weather Jesus forecasting rain. I snuck in the back door. I knew where they hid the key because my best friend Reenie used to live there. The magazine was tucked into a box next to her old yellow teddy bear, the one with sharp fur.
Did I tell you we lived in that town with the doctor who experimented on baby monkeys? Did I tell you he replaced their mothers with barbed wire?
Does this make you glad to live in the world?
Above my head, someone drags a hockey bag across the kitchen floor and I realize I am in the wrong house.
You appear to me in a dream, a round head in a leafless tree. I go into labor 9 months and 13 days later. Between contractions I play with the claw machine in the hospital cafeteria, winning a prophecy inside of a blue plastic egg. It is your whole life story, written on a scroll.
Later, the milk comes in. Later, the stitches heal. Later, we go home together, and the flower tree outside your window blooms. Later, I open the egg, in secret. I never tell you what it says.