“After Drinking It Up”

Who’s to say the dead whale wasn’t seeking what it swallowed? The necropsy revealed 64 pounds of trash in its intestines — plastic straws, polypropylene bags, and a Sponge Bob Square Pants soap dispenser, worn clean from digestive fluids and salt, and even though the mashed bottles had lost their clarity and looked nothing like the bottles you once held, sometimes you think of your previous marriage and say “I’ve lost fifteen years of my life” with your gentle face becoming unfamiliar.  

Swallow it, then, like I swallowed the shame of my childhood that became a part of me like BPA because my mother’s dream of me grew like my own memory without understanding it all my life. And beneath the words she murmured: Accept this now; make it a part of you because I have decided you are the creature from my own depths.

 But they say the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas now. And since there are styrene monomers in my coffee, I know it in my veins: the inheritance of the scapegoat daughter, those lost and irreplaceable thirties, the microplastics that became a part of our evolving selves, the juice straws that my own son touched alongside the sandwich bag that drifted like a jellyfish and protected but could not conceal what’s beneath.

 

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About Natalie DeVaull-Robichaud

Natalie DeVaull-Robichaud has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives with her husband and son in CT, where she teaches writing. Her work has also appeared in Unbroken Journal, The Dying Dahlia, Helen Literary Magazine (forthcoming), and Flash Fiction Magazine (forthcoming). She was also a Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest winner.