Leslie Maxwell

How the Eye Sees

We are all pregnant at the same time. Our skin stretched taut across our swollen bellies, fluid-heavy. We have not talked about the day it will happen. Instead, we smooth lotion into our skin and drink lemonade.


We are giving birth, all of us, on the same day. My delivery is easy. I don’t feel it, and it is over before I can see anything.


Afterward, we wait—mingle, it’s called—in a light-filled atrium. We drink lemonade. We all seem fine. Our abdomens are still stretched, remembering what used to be inside. Our shirts hang, limply, from our breasts. One of us had a C-section. It looks as if she has not yet given birth. She is sitting in a chair someone brought her. The diluted sun from the skylight at the top of the atrium catches on her brown, straight hair. The glossy shine of it stings my eyes.


Leslie Maxwell’s writing has appeared in Juked, Blunderbuss Magazine, The Fourth River, Lockjaw Magazine, Gravel, Cactus Heart, and decomP magazine, among other publications. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, where she teaches writing to college students and community members. She is a graduate of the MFA program at George Mason University in Virginia, where she served as founding co-nonfiction editor of Phoebe: A Journal of Literature and Art. Find her online at lesliemaxwell.com.