Recipe for Birth-Giving

Boil before dipping into an ice bath—the skin shall slide away. Lay skin out to dry.

Compost flesh. It is not good for eating. Mulch with coffee grinds and egg shell, scatter in your garden.

Take and keep the shiny pit.
Polish it like an avocado heart.
Carve what pleases you along its surface.

Bleach the now-dry skin and drape it over a wire mannequin frame: call it mother.

Check your garden. If flowers have grown, pluck petals to line the crib. If no flowers have grown, say bad mother six times and dust everything—including the garden—with salt.

J. Federle, born and raised in Kentucky, earned an MA in 19th-century Poetry in England⁠—when she writes, Romanticism meets the US South, Gothic and Greek imagery fusing with folktale humor. Her years in Peru, married to a supportive Limeño, have improved her Spanish, if not her ability to dance.

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