Be Careful by Erin Schallmoser

Be Careful

The phone app that tracks your ovulation. The pee stick
that tells you for sure that you’re ovulating.
The vitamins and minerals in pill form
that you take to prep your body. The tincture you
drop into water then drink to promote optimal fertility.
The mattress under your knees, layers of memory foam
that mold to your weight as you’re on top, the optimal
position for distribution. The books you read while you wait.
The other stick that you pee on, once it’s time, while your husband
is out for a walk. The hand that you place over your stomach,
with a little different meaning now. The bloodwork that your
doctor orders. The bloodwork that your doctor wants to
discuss as soon as possible. The bloodwork that reveals your
thyroid is slightly out-of-whack, but your doctor
prescribes you something, assures you that they
caught it in time. The ultrasound. The small talk with the tech
that suddenly stops once she places the instrument
on your skin. The shape of something, but it’s not moving.
The radiologist’s face when she walks in with the news. The ice cream
you get at Haggen afterward, even though you’ve been
avoiding gluten and dairy: chocolate, caramel, nuts. The raspberry leaf
tea you drink in bulk every day for a week, hoping your body will
catch up to what is no longer happening inside of it. The turquoise
sled that you take to the hill by the fishery after the surprise snow.
You ride down on your stomach, because you don’t have to
be careful with your body anymore.


Erin Schallmoser (she/her) lives in Bellingham, WA and loves moss, slugs, and the moon. Her work can be found in Hobart, Rejection Letters, Maudlin House, Moonpark Review, Sledgehammer and elsewhere. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gastropoda, and is on Twitter @dialogofadream. You can read more at

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