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by Annie Campbell
I had gained only five pounds during my pregnancy, but walking in that oven-like heat made me feel like I had gained two hundred. My toes were so hot and swollen they looked like red potatoes and felt like they might explode. I could hardly wait for the heat wave to be over and my mysterious baby too reveal itself.
The night before my baby was due, despite the ridiculous heat, I felt strangely energetic and cleaned the house thoroughly. I put polka-dotted sheets on the little mattress in a laundry basket that would soon be my baby’s cradle, and shoved a tiny cotton nightie and diapers into a bag to take to the hospital. In the morning, I woke up around seven and promptly had a major diarrhea attack – just as I had the morning Storn was Born.
Although I had no labor pains yet, I knew the baby would come quickly, so I called Joan, who had offered to be with me during the birth. When we arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital, two male student nurses with tattoos covering their arms got the job of dealing with me.
A doctor came and quickly examined me. “She’s already dilated seven centimeters,” he announced. “Break her water, and hurry this thing up.”
Within minutes my body slammed into full labor, and the nurses rushed me to the delivery room. “Fuck! This really hurts!” I said more than once. The doctor turned to the student nurses whose eyes were practically popping out of their heads and said, “She’s not typical.”
The pain was intense, but I refused any drugs. I looked at Joan’s ashen face and hoped she wouldn’t faint. Only twenty minutes after the nurse broke my water – my 6 1/2 pound daughter Cody was born. I was thrilled!
Because I had been walking to work in the broiling heat, I’d developed a little sore between my legs. The doctor ordered a test to make sure it wasn’t some horrible contagious disease. Then a nurse took Cody away and explained that without the test results – I couldn’t stay in the maternity ward with the other mothers and their babies. I burst into tears.
I was still sniffling when a nurse deposited me in my room and introduced me to my elderly roommate, Doris, she had just had some sinus surgery. Her face was so puffy and distorted that it looked like a giant piece of popcorn.
“What’s the matter?” she asked me.
I explained why Cody had been taken to the nursery and why I couldn’t see her.
“That’s ridiculous!” Doris said, “We’ll sneak down and take a peek at her tonight.”
Things quieted down around nine. Carefully holding our open-backed hospital gowns closed over our butts, we snuck into the hallway. A nurse appeared. We ducked behind a big laundry cart until she left, then darted into the elevator. Walking down the long dark hallway outside the nursery, we peered through the large widows at row upon row of babies in dimly lit plastic beds until we finally found Cody.
“She is the most beautiful one of the whole bunch!” Doris exclaimed.
I thought so, too. Tiny pink Cody had exquisite hands with perfect oval fingernails, lots of downy blond hair, and an untroubled sleepy expression. I hated to leave the nursery, but Doris pulled me away and we made it back to our room without a mishap.
I was young, strong, and healthy. Cody and I went home together in the morning, and that night Storn, John, Ben, and Mick celebrated her arrival with me.



Remembering Afghanistan.
The Woman Who Wore My Hat
The Third Leg
Dear Diary, 10,000 B.C.
Glad To Be Unhappy
Lily, Mister Bluebird, and the Beginning and End of My Singing Career
Stormy Daniels, Full Disclosure

• DYLAN THOMAS Before I Knocked
• MARY GILLILAND Vertical Before Dawn Strips the East
Burn the Timeline
• CHRIS MACCORMICK Disremembrances of the Russian Twilight


R. Saminora, - Paris

Before I Knocked
by Dylan Thomas

Before I knocked and flesh let enter,
With liquid hands tapped on the womb,
I who was as shapeless as the water
That shaped the Jordan near my home
Was brother to Mnetha's daughter
And sister to the fathering worm.

I who was deaf to spring and summer,
Who knew not sun nor moon by name,
Felt thud beneath my flesh's armour,
As yet was in a molten form
The leaden stars, the rainy hammer
Swung by my father from his dome.

(the entire poem)

by Nancy Vieira Couto

"Nancy, I want to ask you something," my cousin Lily said. By the look on her face, I could tell it was important. "How would you like to be a flower girl at my wedding?" she continued. I didn't know what a flower girl was. I had heard people talking about sweater girls, and I sort of knew what they looked like, but I didn't think I could look like that. I was only four years old. "You would wear a pretty gown," Lily said, as if she were reading my mind, "and you would carry a bouquet of flowers." I was still worried about the sweater, but I liked Lily. So I said OK.
(go to story)




by Steve Katz

I was fifteen when my father died. He’d been sick for seven years already, was rarely home, usually bed-ridden in some dreary hospital in the Bronx, or upstate at some rest home. That was treatment for a heart condition at the time — stay in bed! Had my father been around, my fate might have been different. Without a father to slap me into the future I felt like upcoming life had been placed on the far side of a high slick wall. I couldn’t bust through it, nor could I scale it, but against its unyielding concrete I constantly slammed the enigmas of my adolescence.
(go to story)

by David Rollow

The writer sulked. She wasn’t wrong. In the flush of inspiration he’d typed up a report of her most recent visit, while still at the office (he had a day job to support himself), and he had unthinkingly left by the typewriter a second sheet for all to see. He didn’t use a carbon, so to anyone not overwhelmed by curiosity it would have seemed to be only a blank sheet of rough yellow paper. (go to story)

by Annie Campbell

I had gained only five pounds during my pregnancy, but walking in that oven-like heat made me feel like I had gained two hundred. My toes were so hot and swollen they looked like red potatoes and felt like they might explode. I could hardly wait for the heat wave to be over and my mysterious baby top reveal itself.
(go to story)


The scandal does not seem to be with
Stormy, but one
that is generated
by a host of people
that think there
should be a

Review by Gabreal Orgrease
(go to review)


Before I Knocked (go to)

Vertical Before Dawn
Strips the East (go to)

Burn the Timeline (go to)

CHRIS MACCORMICK Disremembrances of the
Russian Twilight (go to)

1984 (go to)


by Daniel Lovell

I’d already been in bed four hours before I found out what the mattress pad was for. You don’t ask too many questions about hospital beds, in general, and I didn’t ask any about this one. They let me have a laptop, and the hospital has free wifi. My assumption is those things are supposed to make up for the horror I’m sitting on right now, just barely covered by the ratty mattress pad. (go to story)

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The focus of our next Metaphysical Times will be
"Weird Tales" (see full size)

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