My body mocks me. Empty of life, it pretends at affirmation. I am lactating – ready to nourish, ready to sustain, but there is no child. The creature housed within me that spawned this farce is only a tumor. A grotesque malformation dancing in the guise of fertility has transformed this richest, most primal of sensual goods, into shame, a sad, empty malfunction.

This, at least, I thought I knew: my body quit the path of procreation. But it seems while desire was denied – no and no and no – a sly deceit was laughing at me all the while. I am the stuffed skin, the voodoo doll, of my own longing. So, let them prick me and see what happens.

CASSONDRA WINDWALKER  has worked as a journalist, a bookseller, a museum interpreter, and a deputy sheriff, among other things. She now writes full time from the coast of Alaska. Her short stories, essays, and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals and art books. Her first published novel, Parable of Pronouns, will be available from Solstice Publishing later this year.

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