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Cancer Festers Like Rotten Fruit

                                                  [Caitlin Umbower]


When she told you the peaches were no longer ripe
That they had spoiled and would need to be tossed
She told you she was sorry
And in that moment, I wondered if
She was apologizing about the peaches
Or the unfortunate probability that you will never eat peaches again









Women of Grace

*Content Warning: Religious trauma, Implied Childhood SA


Do not wear clothing designed to reveal
She says
Women of grace sit like ladies
Their legs closed so that no one peeks
At that which must remain concealed
I am no longer a child
Now graced with gentle, sloping curves
Rounded swells of a body that is mature and soft
I wonder what it was about my five-year-old body
That appeared more inviting than my body now
Why it would warrant a child
To learn to solidify herself
Transform into stone
So as not to entice the uncles
And fathers
And grandfathers in the room

Women of grace
Do not yield a gift not truly theirs to give
She says
This body is not your body
Belonging not to you
But instead to the omniscient creator in the sky
He will know, and he will damn you

Should you shame yourself in such a way
By sacrificing your virtue

I wonder if, when she felt me move inside of her abdomen,
The little flutters of the alien presence dwelling within her,
She grew me with the intention of
Spitting me out into the world
With the expectation that I’d swallow my autonomy
She is appalled by that thought
She cannot fathom why I would say such a vile thing
I ask her
If that is how she feels
How can she believe that her
Supposed creator feels differently
And does not revile such abhorrence

I am no longer taught the edicts of the women of grace
Resolved in her failure
She prays daily that her savior
Looks past my heathen soul
To allow me into the kingdom of heaven
So that I may be spared
Eternal damnation

I wonder is that envy I see in her eyes
Admiration, perhaps pride
When she listens to my truths?
Is that longing I see

When she asks me
What it is like
To live without constant shame in
Being a woman




Caitlin Umbower is a horror writer and poet. The inclusion of her work in the debut issue of In Her Space Journal marks the first time her work has been formally published. She is currently working on her debut novel, as well as a chapbook of poetry. Caitlin resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two cats, Loki and Witch Hazel. 

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