by Lisa Kahn Schnell,
reviewed by Ellen Parker
What we, as living females, are usually concerned with, when we have another person residing inside us, is the status of that other person in there. Is it alive? Is it growing? Why, suddenly, is it so still? In Circling, Lisa Kahn Schnell gets to all of thatóbut first she shows us a scenario that our dread-filled, hormone-addled minds might not even have touched on. Thereís a dead mom, see, and a living baby. Thing is, the baby is unborn. So thereís a young mom-to-be, lying in her casket, stiffly, prettily, and ďyou could see the baby circling around inside of her, like a hand moving under a sheet.Ē
Ah, bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been eight months since my last period. Please cut this liviní baby out of me.
After the writer hears about the unborn baby circling in its dead hostess, she obsesses. Who wouldnít? And where was she? Not there. Shame on me. To the funeral, she should have gone, she should have gone, she should have gone. Cut it out! Cut it out before it stops.
Later, or maybe earlier, the Twin Towers fell and her own fetus went down the toilet.
I heard the news today, it reached me through these tight red walls, and I swear to you I am not coming out of here alive.
Once you get this shit in your head, Iím telling you, your life becomes nothing more than a fright flick. So she finally gets a keeper, but is it? Over and over she checks her signs. Havenít we all been there? I mean, even men. Is everything still there? You count the heartbeat in your belly. You cover your falling hair. You feel, inside, all the little cells splitting.
I shouldnít have gone off. Please indulge me. This is only to tell you the places I went because I liked a story. Actually, Circling is creative nonfiction. So itís not a story, quite, is it? Although some of it is, surely. That is, how long could a baby keep moving in its dead motherís womb? A few minutes, maybe, but an entire funeral? Címon. Couldnít happen. Thatís nothing but a story! How, then, do I get it out of my head?
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.