They cut you from my body as you rage against your removal. You’d grown large, claiming every ounce of me as your own like the morning glory that creeps over our mulberry bushes, climbs the sycamore and the spruce, smothering everything in its path. Each summer, I hack and hack away at it, but I am no match for its appetite.
You attach to my breasts, suckling with fury, while I become emaciated in my struggle to provide. When I cannot, you turn your face from the offered bottle, burn bright red with wrath.
The vines crawl beneath the doorway, steal through cracks in the walls, descend from the chimney. You will not sleep but in my arms, and I must keep moving lest they attach to my ankles and pull me under. My body sags under a cloak of exhaustion.
Inside the garage, I buckle you securely into your car seat. You scream in protest, but I have not the skills to soothe you. Already the morning glory seeks us out, slithering under the garage door. I rush to stuff blankets in its path.
I collapse into the driver’s seat, roll down the windows, and turn the engine key. Its quiet purr calms you. I’ve finally done something right. We breathe in that which is invisible. The vines unfurl and slowly release their grip.
Jayne Martin is a 2017 Pushcart nominee, 2016 winner of Vestal Review’s VERA award, and a 2018 Best Small Fictions nominee. Her work has appeared in Literary Orphans, Spelk, Five-2-One, Midwestern Gothic, MoonPark Review, Blink-Ink, Cleaver, Connotation Press and Hippocampus among others. She lives in California where she drinks copious amounts of fine wine and rides horses, though not at the same time. Find her on Twitter @Jayne_Martin.