Baby

She keeps it in the pantry by the flour, tucked in the corner where no one can see.  Like she’s embarrassed or something.  She sneaks out at night, pushes the flour away, opens the jar, inhales deeply, and dabs just a touch of it on her face.  Then she can sleep.

She dumps the liquid out and replaces it with fresh formaldehyde, hot off the presses.  It bubbles around in the jar, coating a fetus.  She shakes the jar, then holds it to the sun so she can see little tiny bones, little tiny hands, and a face that looks like a piglet.  This makes her cry.

Desperate to bring the jar and its contents back to life, she builds an alter in every room in her house.  First there are flowers, pictures, and other sad things, like tears.  She tries incantations and then throws everything away and builds an empty alter.  Then she doesn’t feel anything.

Someone brings her a quilt for comfort while she sits in a rocker.  She takes it and soaks it in the jar, swirling it around to soak it through and through, every patch deepened in color, heavy, burdened by the weight.  She inhales deeply and dabs  it her face.

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