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If a Girl Were an Elephant by Bayveen O’Connell

If I had paid more attention in Home Economics, I’d have been able to stitch myself up rightly and stop you coming out. I would have absorbed you back into myself, like female elephants do in lean times, in mean times. Like Mammy should have done with me. I did listen in Biology, but lost out to chemistry, to Ultan, the fella from the back of the class, with his wolf-hound eyes and magician’s hands, making me forget Daddy’s dervish of fists, making me forget the black roses blooming from Mammy’s eyes.

Long ago I lost all hunger; easy to do when my guts were writhing eels. Though, as Granny Daly put it, we always want for something: and I wanted and wanted for lips, for love, for skin, for new kin.

And now here I am on the floor, my heart a stampede, my body an island in an amniotic lake, feeling no more a mother than mine could be to me as she drowned in her own woes, her own blows. You, little battering ram, are about to split me in two, and cleave yourself free, trunk first.


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Bayveen O’Connell is an Irish writer whose fiction has appeared in Erato, Backwards Trajectory, The Ekphrastic Review, Switch, Splonk, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Janus Literary, Fractured Lit, The Forge, Scrawl Place, Bending Genres, and others. Her microfiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction. She loves Sile-na-Gigs, capes, Italian holidays, and Bowie.

Perfect Match by Sudha Balagopal  |  Bones by Jose Hernandez Diaz  |  Dusk in Ibiza with My Beloved by Aimée Keeble  |  Past Jack Koo’s shop by Frankie McMillan | If a Girl Were an Elephant by Bayveen O’Connell  |  For Georg Christoph Lichtenberg by Josh Russell  |  Terror Tatts by Robert Scottelaro