Molli Spalter


mikva: a ritual bath which cleanses
impurities not unique to jewish women.


im afraid.

some things are

i stop at the gas station. water my cupped palms under the rust rimmed leaky faucet that forgets: i did not go to mikva. rub it to the roots and get home with wet enough hair to make him want to believe that i did. he touches me like its the first time in seventeen days before he asks after the chlorine smell.


i imagine a rip into my lower lip where forgiveness can drip down my chin so i dont have to swallow. or my lips are sewn together. what the fuck are you staring at. i whisper. and sin is dripping out the whole of me. i dazzle myself. i dab my chin with your burp cloth and pleasure is interrupted by a sweet/sour smell of my motherhood. moo.

join me in these moments of ecstasy.

googled before he came home: having sex will induce labor. practice milk collects in the sweaty place my tit and stomach meet and he looks up at me with a yellowish moustache. cradles them in hands and tells me i should smile more. shows me his hard penis.  

and your voice is in my head.
and i pretend it is my own.

for the first three months i prayed you’d die. i puke. hope it’s your rotting flesh acidic in my esophagus. a lady on the street offers me some saltines.

i keep waiting for the part that everyone says feels good.

 he walks into the room. says i need to get naked so he can masturbate on me. while i lay there. he starts pacing and my head won’t hurt any more than it already does if i take off my shirt. so i do. that was the year i made you.

i called the crisis center looking for home remedies. i didn’t have the money to dispose of you. asked if i told them what i had in my kitchen if they’d be able to help me. i beat you with a wooden spoon instead, to flatten your round baby head before they got to me.

i threaten contraception. i come back and he’s crying on the phone to his mother.

my body still refuses to forget you. after that i learn the difference between crisis centers and clinics. the value of grandma’s silver.

just yesterday you asked me how i got all the scratches on my tummy and i tell you of your strong legs. but mommy. you say i lived on your inside. you take my face in your hands. pull me close and i smell your sweet/sour breath. how’d the scratches end up on your outside parts. i smile. the same i smiled when i heard you were a boy. because someone would take notice when you left the synagogue.


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