Immaculate Conception

By Laura Besley

The woman tears the head off Barbie and swallows it. Barbie’s glossy locks catch and scratch in her throat. Four long limbs, with ten little fingers and ten little toes, follow, the pungent plastic making her retch. Last is the body. Hers repels Barbie’s – hips too wide, breasts too round – but eventually, the woman coaxes it down. She caresses, cradles, the swell of her stomach, the weight lying leaden.

When the pains start, she smiles, breathes like she’s been taught to all the other times, for all the other babies who didn’t survive. Knowing, this time, everything will be perfect.

Laura Besley writes to stop life falling down around her and to ignore the housework.

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