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Deep in the Heart of Texas

by Sara Hills

Marni Plinth magics babies from her mouth, one after another, to show how easy birth can be. Holding one to her breast, its plastic head still spit-shiny, she shushes it.

Now you try, Marni says.

The baby’s jagged fingers and toes scrape my gums. When I hold it close, dots of blood blush my unicorn t-shirt.

Marni touches the blood, rubs it on her wrist, suggests playing at suitcases instead.

We pack our babies in buttersoft shirts and yellow sundresses, push the suitcases under Marni’s bed and, like our sisters before us, wait for the wailing to stop.