Birth Day

by Kari Treese

Ruby’s on the pier: cookies and cream
milkshake—cold, thick, delicious.

The long pier juts out over gray water
sloshing toward the sand. A movie

beginning soon. The waitress forgets
the check. He drags me by the hand

back down the long pier; I waddle,
belly swings to an unsung cadence.

Pull me forward—Or we’re going to
miss it. Drive home; shower.

Balloon bursts—like water breaking—
and splashes on the bedroom floor.

Doctor’s office: strip membranes in a sterile
room, that papery sheet tented at my knees.

Insert two fingers into the cervix; find space
between uterine wall and amniotic sac.

Sweep gently with fingers separating.
Remove a bloody glove. Perform

activities to hasten labor: spicy food,
hot shower, walk, stimulate nipples,

sex. Shower steam floats to the ceiling,
hands rub this distended belly, draw wet

circles on my skin. Naked gush,
mop the mess with a shower towel.

Put an oxygen mask on my face—
a dance of off and on. I cry when they pull him
from my body. My stomach
feels odd for days, empty and deflated.

Kari Treese is a writer and mathematics teacher in Southern California. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Writing Studies from University of Washington Tacoma and a Master’s degree in Education from UCLA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles ReviewCrab FatThe Fem, and Lunch Ticket. Find her outside counting rocks or climbing them.