Portrait as Alice Neel

We go to the Met to see the beetles with human heads and
I find Alice Neel instead. She shows me a life, bloated with
motherhood, picking flesh from a turkey carcass over the sink
for the dogs. You, bent over a plate of pie, grinning. There is
a woman with clubs for feet and a belly so wide it bears a
grimace. Her husband lies next to her in best Sunday dress.
Another woman with mottled shins. I imagine my body
the enemy, purple, lithium wreaking havoc on my womb. You
kissing an infant on the forehead while I pull a swollen teat
from the neck of a tank top. You fall asleep on the train ride
home. I chew my teeth. We lie in bed. I ask if you’d marry me
and you say nothing. I hold my breath. I get the abortion.

Alissa Nalewajko is a student at Princeton University studying creative writing. She’s from Boise, Idaho, and loves to explore themes of persona and surrealism through her work. She has been previously published in Zeniada.

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