The Hurry Up Child

Boy, you were always in such a hurry, from the day you were born four weeks too early, a day I will never forget. Lying on the couch, reading the latest Vogue, counting contractions in the back of my mind before I realized, they were getting pretty regular. So I got up, and drove myself to the hospital, no one else being around at that time. Just four hours later, there you were, and out the door you went, before I could even touch you, name you, down to the isolette, coming back only when you were in a hurry to eat, that tough old nurse marching you in, waking me up. Then back you'd go to your new womb, clean, nice, and snug.

Yes sir, always rushing, you with your head no bigger than the breast you were attached to; once, in the flash of a heartbeat, you went purple, choking on the feast. Your grandma came in, phone in hand, dialing 911 as she grabbed you, flipped you over the kitchen sink, smacking your little butterfly back just as calm as she was later when the first EMT to arrive drove up in his old pickup and she told him straight off, "the baby choked on his mama."

Good God Almighty! My girls had been trouble ever since they popped up when I was twelve. Now they'd struck again, wouldn't be long before every man, woman, and beast in town would know, "that Belgram gal nearly killed her baby with those tits of hers." All because you couldn't take your breakfast slow. Let that be a lesson to you, child, before you rush off to bury yourself in some other pair. Learn to slow down, breathe out through your nose, and enjoy life as it comes.

—Helen Peterson