Summer 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 3/4 Nonfiction |

The Riddle Song: A Twelve-Part Lullaby

        I gave my love a cherry that had no stone Holly enters the room, panting. "Sorry I'm late," she says between gasps. "I wanted a good uterus to show you." Holly is always misplacing her visual aids. She plops down into the only remaining seat in the room, a bright orange beanbag. "Have you all been practicing? Remember, breathing is everything." Gasp. "July will be here before you know it." Beside me, Lana giggles. Holly, our instructor, does not inspire confidence. She has miscarried three times and has recently undergone a hysterectomy, but her perpetually round stomach makes her a natural for Lamaze. I'm the only woman in the room with a flat stomach, and Holly holds this against me. The first week of class, we all made name tags—blue for fathers, pink for mothers, a baby rattle floating by our names and due dates. There was no color for aunts, so I made a blue tag. Holly did not approve. Now she surveys the room, taking roll with her eyes. "So, Lana,

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Rebecca McClanahan
Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books of nonfiction, poetry, and writing instruction. Recipient of the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, a Pushcart Prize, and the Glasgow Award for nonfiction, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University–Charlotte and Ranier Writing Workshop. She was the 2015 writer in residence at Hollins University. 


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