“The Baby Cure”

My doctor said that pregnancy was the surest way
to cure endometriosis. I was thirteen. In my closet 
at home, my Barbies slept in their Tupperware container. 
Both they and I wondered if I was too old for them. 

Barbie had a baby, thumb-sized, plastic, a hand-me-down 
from my mother. To remove its head one simply pinched 
and pulled. Later in the game the baby could become a boy 
or a girl, both hand-me-downs, both with removable heads. 

Pinch. Pull. What I am saying is that it never fully belonged to me. 
The baby. The concept of a baby. The concept of motherhood. 
Its pinch, pull. At thirteen my doctor said that if I wanted a baby 
I would have to have one as soon as possible. It would be difficult 

and perhaps impossible. He wanted me to know. To get a baby, Barbie
had to wait until the all-clear. No mothers watching. Then she opened 
her legs and Ken opened his and they became scissors that met 
at their blanks. There was a sound to it. A pitch higher than expected. 

Sometimes I or a friend would laugh along with it: Bang, bang, bang. 
At thirteen my doctor asked me to scoot to the bottom of the table, 
to open my legs so that he could examine the parts I was told 
only a doctor could examine. Above me hung a neon light. 

There was a sound to it. A pitch higher than expected. I felt a pinch. 
A pull. I focused on the light and the pitch and the breathing 
that happened in the body that was no longer my own. I was thirteen.
Even then, I knew what was expected of me. I wasn’t supposed to cry.

Emma Bolden is the author of a memoir, The Tiger and the Cage (Soft Skull), and the poetry collections House Is an Enigma, medi(t)ations, and Maleficae. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is an editor of Screen Door Review