When I was tiny I thought my mother built me with her hands. Glued pieces of her nails to tiny fingers, threaded her hair through a new soft scalp. I didn’t know about ovaries until an encyclopedia fell open years later, diagrams twisting on my lap. Didn’t understand what fathers did before they read Dr. Seuss and shoveled snow in the driveway. Doctors say I have latent genes, malevolent seeds that have waited to sprout. Lost eyesight, rotten guts. The medicines have their own problems. We don’t recommend this one for pregnant women. We don’t recommend that one for women who want to be pregnant. My family is worried. You haven’t given up, have you? Over and over someone wants me to choose between a child and my own insides. I pull ropes of my hair out of bath drains, sweep nail clippings into the dust pan, wonder what creature might grow from my remains.
Sophie Panzer is the author of the chapbooks Bone Church (dancing girl press 2020), Mothers of the Apocalypse (Ethel Press 2019) and Survive July (Red Bird Chapbooks 2019). Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf Top 50. Her work appears in Menacing Hedge, Lammergeier, Whale Road Review, Threadcount, The Hellebore, and others. She lives in Philadelphia.
A Song for Sophie