Peter Johnson

Massaging the Ass of a Pregnant Woman

First, look to the bedroom window. Hail to the leaf, to the bleeding milk of dandelions, to the boulder under which an ant is eating its enemy! Even to computer carcasses piled high in a red pickup, to raccoons kneeling before a nearby dumpster. “Where to begin?” I ask Quaamina, my Ahousaht guide, master in the art of pressing flesh. “Personal hygiene counts one-half of one per cent,” he reminds me, though it's hard to hear over the wall chatter of our Monet haystacks, over the elastic moaning from my sock drawer. It seems a pack of extra large condoms feels left out. No! It's an unsheathed Swiss Army knife wreaking havoc on a handkerchief. No! Just a backyard door slamming, then a few grunts from the neighbor's above-ground pool. “From the beginning,” I say, “I refused to leave the womb---the bright lights, the doctors promising I'd be a girl.” But let's return to the clanking overhead fan, to our extra firm mattress, to the familiar flesh between finger and thumb. “Time to dig in,” Quaamina smiles. “Wasn't it she, after all, who invented the sigh?”

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