When our baby sleeps, his father plays the darkest shit possible. I wake up and look out from the quilt to see the rise of mushroom clouds. I think, this is the music we’ll all hear when we die. As his eyes glaze, his fingers click faster.
After giving birth, it's usual to walk around naked but feel uneasy about it. They dried the placenta for me, and I eat it each morning.
My high school boyfriend played video games while I hid under a blanket, swallowing the head of a beer. When code was missing, body parts disappeared and characters walked into walls or fused with trees as they tried but failed to advance. His mom got me a Christmas sweater. He said, “I don't know why she does shit like that.”
In the gully, a dead girl had a portion of torso missing, the shape of a leaf. The character looked like someone I knew in real life.
My husband curls the baby flat against his stomach and moves the controller cord safely away from his neck.
“You alright?” he says.
“Are you? I don’t know what day it is.”
“It seems we haven’t ever left this room and my nipples are bleeding.”
In this game, he chains zombified men to trees and tortures them for answers.
In this game, he drains a fish.
I am a detective who cheats, a man without a father, a man with debts, a man without lifeforce, a swinger of shovels, a driver of spikes, a buyer of wives. Postpartum, I slip on a glove to finger clues. I thrust a gun in a woman’s face. I go to a strip club. I offer my son a nipple.
“I think you’re the happiest when we’re having sex,” he said.
His friend chimed in, eyes on our game. “It looks like she could suck dick.”
“I'd like to have my dick sucked.” I said.
In high school, my goals were to fit in, and to rip out a spine, dislodge it from the grip of muscle.
When a note in my locker read ‘you’re a pig,’ I tore it up and ate it. It passed easily and came out nearly in intact. If I had told him this while his hands were in my bra, he would have freaked.
When the former lover-of-pigs finally broke up with me, I remained agreeable so no one could say I was crazy.
My husband carries the bassinet out of the basement. He says we can’t stay here anymore. We move the Xbox to the first floor.
“Have you ever loved anything more than this?” he points to our child like he’s a piece of ephemera. It’s true. The baby hardly seems real.
“No. Do you think we’ll feel the same again?”
“What do you mean?”
In high school, Pig Lover’s parents owned a tree farm, and I never wanted to visit because once on his ATV we went to the woods, and there were centerfolds tacked to trees, and if you twirled around they floated into each other, a mass of nipples and pubes.
I'd rather have been on my console letting whole days slip by, awaiting anything else.
In the sunlight, my husband and I create a nest on the floor. We arrange blankets and bottles, small scraps of hospital detris, rails from our bed.
He says, “Can you anchor these items?”
I move to the middle and make myself tall. I do feel a little bit the same. A mother, a fake, a tyrant, a fetus, a pistol, a helix. If it rains now, I won’t feel nearly so sad. It’s a scrim, a mark of progress.
Amanda Marbais’ fiction has appeared in Portland Review, Apalachee Review, Joyland, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Hobart, and many other journals. She's written reviews and cultural essays for Your Impossible Voice and Paste Magazine. She is the author of the chapbook, A Taxonomy of Lies (Bottlecap Press 2016). She's the managing editor for Requited Journal.