The Infant Thing / by Karie Luidens

A cut commentary on how a baby comes into being.

Look at her, the newborn, the infant. Little thing. 

A year ago she was nothing. 

She was not. 

A year ago the skins of her limbs and the still-soft bones were elsewhere in other forms, soil and mushrooms and wind. Only gradually did her scattered bits begin to gather. A year ago the fibers of her veins-and-arteries-to-be were the xylem and phloem of celery. Her cerebrospinal fluid rained on the cornfields of the Midwestern plains. Farm animals were fattened on her. Soda bottles bore her blood. Her proto-fingernails were milked from northeastern dairy cows and pasteurized and put on sale for her parents to purchase. As months passed, her wheat-hair was baked into the bread they bought. The mother chose and chewed the material that would be stitched together in her womb. Only there did all these moist molecules morph together. They merged. They took on a life of their own. 

One day—one specific identifiable date—a tiny tiny tiny heart began to beat. Urgently. And it beat beat, beat beat, beat beat, without a hesitation. A single hesitation would have ended the whole thing. No, it did not hesitate; the same heart is still beat beating even as these words are written, it is beat beating these words.