Courtney Sender

The boy I love has put a child inside me, which died inside me last night. He doesn't know the child is dead. He felt the pit of my stomach grow hard as an unripe mango, but he thought I was hungry. He tried to feed me soft mashed peaches. I refused.
     When he finds out, he will stop loving me. He will perform the ritual that will make me a prophetess. He will slice my breasts from my body with a scythe I will sharpen myself, blade on blade. Prophets are not soft, and so prophets are women: no man can prove his hardness the way I can. No mind of man can overcome the body's instinct to nurture—that is, the body's instinct to give—by killing his own half-grown baby in the womb.
     I did not know I was doing it. I was busy sewing quilting cloth into a sling to carry what came out of me, fearing the wisdom other women whispered—Naomi, yes, a hard one that. Fearing their wisdom would be stronger than my will. Fearing their prophesy would eject my child in my sleep.
     And then I woke beside the boy I love, his torso soft in sleep, mine convulsed and hard and bleeding, and the hunger I'd ignored slipped out of me with the body so small and slick it might have been a mouse or a dream or only half a body, a single organ. Just a hand. Just a heart.







My housemate and I were watching a documentary on the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon rainforest, and ended up in a debate about the ethics of making the documentary. This got me thinking about the basic desires we all share, too easily forgotten amidst large but superficial cultural differences. And "Prophetess" was born!