(from Stories to Read Aloud to Your Fetus)
You were totally not supposed to exist seeing as how the Bikers for Christ Chief said I was too young to have babies. He had a super-big, movie-style bike which I rode like vague Princess. How I laughed when he revved it at red lights. Faster, I begged, go faster. And faster. Fly.
I was some unwritten storybook girl when he rode that bike off into the sunset and Mom said killing an innocent baby wasn’t right. I felt unstoried, raw as half-shell and not understanding what she meant because you were less than a lima bean at the time while I was gearing up for eighth grade volleyball team tournaments.
That’s not on the menu, Mom said. The menu was blank. Nothing to order. People asked questions. There are good lies and bad lies, Mom said. I sprained my wrist on the trampoline. Inside the pocket of the lavender maternity tunic, I kept safe a sweaty, clenched fist. When good lies came out, I pressed my fist against the stomach. You were a speed-bump from the start. You were a lump in the throat slowing feet down.
I stopped brushing my hair and let it grow into a thicket of tangles and brambles no prince could cross. Mom drove to the Jesus Loves the Children Center and signed you up to be adopted. By the Best Possible Family. I was happy for you because it sounded romantic to be chosen by the Best Possible Family and maybe have your own room and a swimming pool in the backyard. The sales-people made it sound nice and well-lit and loaded with barbecues and tiki torch parties. I wondered about sleepovers. The salesperson hummed for a second and then say maybe sleepovers were a thing in Kuwait but he wasn’t sure because he’d never been there. You went to the highest bidder, an emir or something.
I thought it sounded nice to go somewhere a salesperson had never been. Mom patted the hair above her ear and said God had a plan for you and wasn’t it a blessing to witness it unfolding? To see God’s purpose working itself out in your precious little life?
I wished God would make those plans unfold faster. Seems God had nothing against listening to folks talk. I prayed about that. I said Lord. Please. Speed this trick pony up.
Alina Stefanescu‘s poetry was born in Romania and raised in Alabama. Every Mask I Tried On, her first fiction collection, will be available from Brighthorse Books in 2017.