On losing a child and being broken open

Photo: MedicalRF.com/Getty Images

The needles used in acupuncture are extraordinarily small, a fraction of a millimeter thick, about the same as a single strand of human hair. They push through the top layer of skin with a sharp pinch, breaking through the boundary of the body with something like an electric charge.

The first time I went to the community acupuncture clinic, it was winter, and I was heavily pregnant with my first child. He was more than a week late, and I was desperate for him to be out in the world, for the birth story I’d been writing and rewriting in…

When do we first become aware of the need to be pleasing? To be grateful it wasn’t worse, to hold still and smile?

Illustrations by Syan Rose

It was four o’clock in the morning when my mother and her kidnapper reached the intersection of Highway 620 and Ranch Road 2222, where he would finally let her go. Early January, 1972. My mother was not yet my mother; she was nineteen. No light in the sky, and quiet but for the hiss of the wind through the trees. She wasn’t bound and he no longer had his hands on her. …

Mary Milstead

Writer, mother, teacher, student. Lover of stories, big and small. Published in The Rumpus, Gay Magazine & Shirley Magazine. Find more at marymilstead.com

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