“The pain was incandescent: a sticky, piercing heat that felt a knife’s edge from ecstasy; it sent spasm after spasm through my limbs as I clung to the hospital sheets, straining toward the ceiling, yearning for the sky beyond it. I was half-gone, floating up to the cosmos, desperate for the frigid vastness of space, for my body to shatter into pieces and just float undisturbed, finally, finally. Back on earth, I was tethered, spread, split decisively open. My daughter slid from me, indignant, slick and firm as a plum, and stopped wailing as soon as they nestled her on my chest.”
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