Mary Rosenthal

Stacy Lee

My periods left me two years ago. The last was dark brown.

This morning, I went to the market to pick up sea salt and laundry detergent. The lighting in the store was a murky white, tint of green. A woman and her daughter shopped in the aisle. The daughter wore a bow on her head, had pudgy fingers, and must have been around seven years old, maybe nine.

That mother had been selected, the one percent that gets to have a child.

The girl picked out a box of cookies, gluten-free Oreos. Her Mom nodded, grabbed a second box and put the treats in the cart. She and her daughter wheeled away and I watched their feet disappear.  I was alone in aisle 14. I grabbed a bag of flour off the shelf and let the weight of it sink into my arms. I rubbed the packaging like it was hair on a head, rocked the sack like it had come from my own womb.

I never got chosen. Never got chosen to have a child.

At night, my husband asks to go down on me. I ask him to talk dirty to me in the way that I like.

“In the morning,” he says, his lips humming over my clit. “I’m going to wake you up with my fingers stroking you.”

I moan, know where he’s going with this.

“And then I’m going to slip into you without a condom, and you’re going to tell me no but I’m going to keep going.”

I’m wet.

“And keep going and keep going until I cum, because that’s all you’re good for.”

His lips simmer against my labia, neon pink.

“And then you’re going to try to get up and try to go about your day and I’m going to tell you that you have to stay in bed all day with my cum inside you, and wait for me,” he said.

My face reddens with discomfort, pressure, sensation.

“Because that’s all you’re good for,” he says. “All you’re good for is making babies for me.”

A wave of ecstasy in my spine. The buildup of orange light, bright, blistering.

“Then I’m going to come home and you better be lying naked in the bed, so I can fuck you, put my cum inside you again.”

His lips, getting close, my hips squirming. Me, moaning.

“And so you’ll lie there all night with my cum, your body making me a baby—”

“Agh,” I say, as it shoots up out of me and I moan and moan and my body feels powerful, all of the potential of my flesh ruptured white from the inside.

And when he is finished, and I finish, I cry. He holds me like I held the sack of flour. And a black spot leaves me, an ink blot on my mind. He holds me for a long time.

from Issue 29.2, runner-up for the Wabash Prize in Fiction.


STACY LEE is a graduate of the UCLA Writer’s Program where her novel-in-progress, Edge of the Moon, was nominated for the 2016 Kirkwood Prize for Outstanding Work in Fiction. Stacy’s poetry has been featured on Elephant Journal, non-fiction published in the Writer’s Collective for Medium, and in 2015, she was a finalist for the Atlanta Review Poetry Prize. She graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 2013 and from the Baron Brown School for the Dramatic Arts in 2017. She currently lives in Santa Monica, CA with her fiancé and her dog, Noodle.