Beginnings
By Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez

She held my newborn body in her arms, whispered my name. Years later, she would tell me a story about how she witnessed a collision of stars at the utterance of my syllables. Mother’s flesh to daughter’s flesh, her body nourished mine.

 

*

 

Biting my lip, I sat on a park bench, folding and refolding an empty sandwich wrapper during my high school lunch break. We need to talk. Tears pooled at the rims of her eyes. I read your journal. I’m sorry. I. Just…I thought it was your poetry. I should have known. You haven’t asked for tampons for a while now. How far along are you?

 

*

 

My mother swaddled my newborn daughter. She’s beautiful. Placing my daughter to my exposed flesh, she spoke: You’re tethered. Close your eyes. Find the space where only you two can exist. I heard her steps creating distance between us. I knew she was watching the stars, allowing me my own collision: mother and daughter.

 

*

 

Shrouded in hospital brightness, we contemplated the white decay of things. She asked me to keep everyone out of the room. She opened her hospital gown, exposed her bandaged chest, and whispered: How bad is it? This is our lives now, I thought. Bandages and bright, white decay—like the hottest part of the flame.

 

*

 

Rain beckoned me out of a nightmare. I stood, peered at the starless night outside my window. A dark gulf stared back. The premature hours of a new day: my first day without my mother.

Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez (she/her) writes in an oversized chair located in her San Luis Valley, Colorado home. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Complete Sentence, The Drabble, The Plentitudes, Sky Island Journal, The Brooklyn Review, The Nasiona, Fatal Flaw Literary Magazine, The Wire's Dream Magazine, Ember Chasm Review and elsewhere. Learn more about Adrianna at adriannasanchezlopez.com or follow her on Instagram @a.drisl.