about the author

Benjamin Woodard lives in Connecticut. His recent writing has been featured in, or is forthcoming from, Numéro Cinq, Drunken Boat, Cleaver Magazine, and Rain Taxi Review of Books. Find him at benjaminjwoodard.com.

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Big Country

Benjamin Woodard

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Everything’s textbook, but then you spot the bassinet, throne-rigid and foreign, beyond the foot of the bed. Her puffy breasts shiver. My God, she’s so much thinner than just yesterday. He should have cried, she says. This makes sense. You read the books, too, the pamphlets. Sleeping patterns vary, they warned. Never for more than a few hours, they promised. Yet here you both are, waking on this first morning like bears after a long winter, and what’s funny is the sole word that comes to mind: freedom. Let’s drop acid and watch movies all afternoon, you blurt. Let’s pack each other in boxes and ship ourselves to Europe. Or join a traveling circus. No, let’s change our names and fade away to Montana. The air tastes dry and warm as you speak: a mouth of flour. But she doesn’t hear you, or maybe it simply doesn’t register, because as you sit in concert to wait for the sight of a small fist, for shouts of misery from the freshly minted mortal across the room, she doesn’t budge. You know she will only yelp and inform you she’s overjoyed once her fears are squelched. And you? You will absorb your consort’s reaction with a smile, then wonder if you’re truly ready for this life.

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