© Jan Bella
after Matthew Siegel
The sea is not as white as I expected. A lifeguard tapes gauze on my baby’s hand, secures the pad. It’s okay, it’ll be over soon. The waves splash to my belly. My breasts leak, a turquoise vein swells. A woman once stood to her chest as the tide crept in, foot planted where she dropped the bright ring. A needle in a haystack. Saline slips down the tube, stinging cold. I hold you high as we wade out.
10 weeks old
As he grows stronger, rounder, smoother, I begin to rattle inside my skin, paper-thin across the stomach, a crinkled blouse draped over dough. These breasts, still milk-full in time will shrink, crease, then the eyes will cloud, the skin crack near the mouth and I will peel it right back and slither out bright new clean. Then I will reel in shock. That cast skin was the tale of our becoming. Panicking, I will hunt down the scraps, gather strips scrunch them tightly at the waist and twist to the flare of bronze chiffon, sashay our story through the town.