I woke up with one hand cupped between my thighs.
Last night I birthed her head and waited. Larger than a walnut, smaller than a tennis ball, her head remained suspended, wet tissue pulsing against eyebrows, lips, cheeks; she waited, too. We may have slept.
Then two estranged friends from school came to me as I lay in bed. We grew up together until we didn’t anymore, married, birthed, ceased to speak.
Two estranged friends from school- my closest friends, at times, the kind of friends you assume will be there even after you all drop out- came to me as I lay in bed with her head in my birth canal and said, we want to see her, show her to us.
So I reached down, took hold of her head, twisted gently, and pulled her from me.
At first she was dead. Then she inflated, her skin reddened, eyes opened a sharp and quiet blue. She fit in my hand, exactly, temple to my fingertips, toes to my wrist. Calmly she reclined, blinked, red hair shining with thin blood, fetal pee, mucus. The umbilical chord wound pink and wet down my arm, a surprisingly fragile thread.
The estranged friend from school- the one who used to be a lover, a beloved, unrequited of course except in secret, before the polaroids were burned- suddenly began to cry.
What, I said, is it because you weren’t here?
It’s because she’s so perfect, she’s just so perfect, she said.
And she was.