Copyright 2011 by Vanessa Kittle
and e.s.p. press
Lyrics by The Giant Gila Monsters
courtesy of happy little music
Interior art by fish and Erin Grooms
Cover art by Erin Grooms
and Vanessa Kittle
As a child, Rose often picked at her bellybutton. There was something about it she just didn’t understand, even though she had been told about the umbilical cord and what it was for. She could picture herself tied to her mother by the cord: a sort of balloon pumped full of blood instead of helium. The mother she pictured changed often. Sometimes it was the queen of a small country in Europe. Sometimes it was someone from a small village far away from the busy world of men. And sometimes she pretended that her mother was an otherworldly being who would return to rescue her one day. Rose had never known her real mother, who had died when she was very young, but she imagined that a small part of her mother remained with her in what she called ‘the grape nut.’ Sometimes, instead of thinking that it was a piece of her mother left behind, she thought an actual grain of the breakfast cereal had fallen into her bellybutton somehow. And sometimes she thought it was a seed from one of the large red grapes she liked to eat when she was little.
She had worried about it for years, even as she was about to turn twenty. She would often dig at the grape nut to try and get it out, but it would not move from its place deep within her navel, no matter how hard she scraped it with her fingers, or even with a pair of sharp tweezers.