Three Sponge Baths

by Christopher Prewitt

Hector

He told me all about it: once many years ago, he was pregnant with a giant. Giants are not at all how they are portrayed in the media. They are celestial, not grounded, not even on clouds. They are energy, not flesh and bone. One becomes pregnant with a giant when cosmic spores enter a brain. Over the course of a few years, one becomes superstitious, feels compelled to turn left at a bus stop every time a bird passes over, for fear of a punishment, for example. A giant's nourishment is the brain attempting to regain logic. The more a brain resists or attempts to undermine superstition/ compulsion, the stronger and more bizarre the superstition/ compulsion eating cheese singles while wearing only one sock, snipping hearts in the petals of flowers left on graves the better nourished a giant is. Hector's spine is practically exoskeletal, held back by the thinnest layer of brown spotted skin, and it tears the sponge. One day, Hector explained, he got lucky. His giant shot into space from a sneeze. Usually a giant's birth combusts the pregnant head. Hector is the only living birth giver he knows. Those with stillborns, he sighed, suffer the most extreme pain of all.

Lucy

She is beautiful and causes the most delicate plop when she sits in the full basin. She is quiet but pleasant. She covers her breasts by folding her arms across her chest. She always smiles at me, but she smiles at everyone, in a sad way. She is doing better now that Dr. K— has stopped sending her letters. I'm not a saint either. Although I have been told not to look, I simply must. Every fifteen minutes her head tilts forward and her eyes fall out, pure round stones. One hears her choking when I bathe her, I feel her tremble and pull the sponge from her but one should not worry. A new pair of eyes rolls forward in her sockets. It reminds me of a snake swallowing two fat mice, the way her eyes come through. I take the old eyes to my room, kiss them, and rub them together to start a fire.

Dr. K—

She takes off her white coat, her rusted wire glasses, and tells me to sit in the basin. I try, but there is no prayer to recite or song to hum to foreclose the reality that I am a one legged peasant woman in the body of one who is privileged by a monarch. She is quiet except for absentminded lip smacking. She forgoes the sponge and uses a hand that's old enough to have pointed at an apostle hiding in the marketplace from the Roman guard. Occasionally she sighs, and I feel the stump of her other arm pressed between my shoulders to make me sit up.


Christopher Prewitt resides in Blacksburg, Virginia, with his wife. He writes and publishes poems and short stories, most of which are available for viewing online. He has worked in education, fast food, and retail. He is co-author, along with Sean Corbin, of a chapbook of poems entitled The Gospel of Playing Dead.