Christina Ana Montilla (she/her) is a multi-genre writer born and raised on Coast Salish land in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, a working-class, suburb north of Seattle. Her creative nonfiction and experimental/blended genre writing has been published online with Hobart, Duende, and in print with Small Po[r]tions, the 2018 Till Writers Chapbook, and is forthcoming in Papeachu Review. Since 2009, she's been a member of La Sala Latinx Artist Collective, where she's generated poetry and fiction in collaboration with LatinX artists from various disciplines. She studied anthropology and English with an emphasis on creative nonfiction writing at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. In her free time, she raises chickens, raises hell, and picks up litter on the trails that snake through the Issaquah Alps. She works at a flower shop.
beyond the pelvic bone, mothers are first, and mostly
strawberries storm into the car, their sweet tartness at first a pet on the tongue, then we turn green as we realize why your mother has pulled the vehicle over. beyond the pelvic bone, mothers are first, and mostly, body. and when the air is sucked out, as the sour shortcake crumbles in, our mouths form empty glass fishbowls in little o, o, o, o, os and we gasp desperately: Oh, god! Oh, my! Oh, dear! Oh, honey! how terribly we feel about the ocean of pregnancy.
the world outside waltzes and the wedding reception stomach tips over and half-digested strawberry shortcake results on the floor. flesh is a geometry, and if you are not careful the world outside will try to fold you and sell you as cold, clumsy origami. i wipe the blood smear of chewed strawberry from your mother’s dress. i twist a soft cocktail napkin, wet with seltzer water. she bears the body you are born into,
and you cannot breathe until the body is born. we all find this out. i joke until your mother smiles as if we are wine-drunk and this is merlot. the chiffon bridesmaid dress is an evening that envelops an island. we are not free until the body is. i slip into the driver’s seat, your mother presses a cool rag over her burning cheeks. i fold her hand into mine, rub sunsets into her back
as she vomits again. the night blooms into a sculpture of pink. how much pink can the body bear? sometimes the edges of the world catch you, and the body survives. a shoulder, an umbilical cord twists into a noose, and then you breathe. survive birth. we reach for new paper with each revision, fold ourselves into new versions. become and unbecome. slip on a clean new dress, destroy it.