fiction by Couri Johnson
A daydream got me pregnant.
Pa didn’t believe me at first. He pulled me out of school, and whooped me good. Afraida’ what would be thought. Afraida’ what I’d done.
“Who,” he kept demanding, o’er and o’er again, as if my belly were swelling with the name, and it was just waiting to burst out. But all I could tell him was I used to see this small bit of glow in Ma’s eyes when she was washing dishes. When I got to fussing she used to sit me down and tell me, not about the world as it was, but as it should be. When she died she gave me this trick to help me make it through.
And one night, when I need so badly to make it through, the world as it should be took to flesh and sunk in me. We had pantries that never went dry. Books jumped right into your head with just a glance. Wallets filled their own selves whenever they were opened. My teeth were straight and white as picture book fences, and my freckles were finally cute.
But I couldn’t even manage telling Pa that much. Wasn’t till the night of the birth that he would even think to listen. Spent the night heaving on a pile o’ towels like an ol’ mutt. Felt like e’ry one of my ribs split in two making way, and that ain’t even the worst of it by far.
At the end, tween my legs came this strange little twitching ball of light, like a small sweet egg about to hatch. Glowing as if there were a lightbulb inside. I saw it shine and nearly wept. Pa pushed my knees aside to take it up in his own hands. As he peered at it, I watched it flicker between that lightness and death. Watched it dim between his fingers.
Anymore, I don’t weep or dream so much.
COURI JOHNSON is a graduate of the North Eastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts. Recently she has relocated for the time being to Marugame, Japan. Her work has been published by Print-Oriented Bastards, Demois Ezine, among others, and she has a chapbook coming out with Dancing Girl Press in the Spring of 2016. She can be found on Twitter at @a_couri.