“An Unfunded Study of the Afterbirth” by Sarah Wolfson, appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR. When it had been seen to that the grayness had receded, that the birthed could breath and suck, that the mother had uptaken several stitches
After my mother died, I looked at a photo where she had moved into assisted living from the ER. Her oxygen tube in her nose, two small children standing on each side. Her hands around their hands pulled tightly to her chest, the chorus of knuckles still housed, white like stones, soon to be freed, soon to be splashing like horses.
Mom gave birth to me on the vernal equinox, just as the world begins to bloom, so it was no surprise that I inherited her love for the outdoors. We grew together as twin Persephones, bursting with life at the first sign of crocuses, and shrinking into sullen hibernation as the days darkened into winter.
The day has come when my mother
no longer knows me.
It comes on a day of dying
like words torn from a typewriter.
My mother tells me that if I want the novel I’m writing to be a bestseller in America, I should put in a couple of ghosts. Americans love ghosts, especially Chinese ghosts. I stammer back that I’m not selling out, and that I will never write about ghosts, Chinese or otherwise. “Remember the fortune cookies you used to get all the time?” she says. “They said, ‘Listen to your mother.’” “I only got that fortune three times,” I reply. “Three times in one year,” she says, wrapping up the conversation.