Allergy Girl ISandra Beasley
Wasting. A hunger so great I bite through a pacifier. My mother tries to fix me with more milk, more milk. Doctors run tests on my squalling body. No breast is safe, no cowgoatsoy milk. I nurse on apple juice. My parents agree on one rule: Don't break the baby. They pour quarters into the arcade game of adulthood, working the mechanical claw right, left, right, back, aiming for the stuffed bear, missing. A clutch of cheesecake. A buttermilk biscuit. Each time my lips swelling, breath skipping. They pace the E.R. Did we break the baby? My mother dissects labels: casein, protein, lactylate. Easier to cook from scratch. My father perfects Shhh, it's not that bad, you can breathe. Breathe. They cradle me in Benadryl. That's the secret of marriage: bleary silence in white rooms. Too busy not-breaking me to take the wrecking ball to each other.
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