Cutting a red door into her stomach, I perform
dissection as they’d done to my mother twenty years prior,
ripping me out into shrill light, wiping pink slime from me.

I shift wilted organs and mistake the black sac I grab
for feces, forgetting bodies forget themselves, evacuate,
muscles slipping into wide-eyed slumber.

Fetal bones grind between my fingers, their rasps muted in mucus
and rubbered uterus. I run outside, catch breath as if for the first time –
alone, indulging in the luxury of my mother’s choice, something like instinct.


Raegen Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults on professional and creative bases. She received her M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University, where she served on the staff of Mid-American Review. Her creative work has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other magazines. Visit her at