He hangs it by the ankles, its blue
hands splayed, the small kidney-shape of its body crowned with my blood. I open
my arms, but the yīshēng shakes his head.
“Look away, you
hear? Look away.” He plunges my baby head first into a waiting bucket of water.
Pain roars in my
haunches. I push hard, my womb emptying like a blanket thrown into the air. Between
my legs…so much blood.
“Stop pushing, another
one’s coming,” he bawls and discards the limp newborn beside the bucket. He pulls
at the second head – half in, half out – and it slips from me, screaming.
He grabs a knife
from his work block and hacks at the knotty cord that binds her to me. I snatch
her. Rock, rock, rock…
Her lips quiver.
Birth has rippled the puddle of her features; a child that has lived ten lives
“Here, take her
as well.” He picks my firstborn from the mat and thrusts her onto me. She seems
almost to be choking. I tap her back and she spews up water. Her chest heaves with
life. How neatly she is packed in skin!
But the yīshēng
returns. In his hand, a
syringe. “Straight to the brain. They won’t feel a thing,” he says.To read moreTo buy the ebook