At twenty weeks, the doctors gave an ultrasound that discovered a tiny
hole in the baby’s heart. “Small,” he said. “May close on its own.
But sometimes they stay open, and then surgery’s needed. We’ll see
at your next appointment.” For one month, I carried that information in my chest
like a jack-in-the-box, unexpectedly popping open fear about a valve that might leak
like a fountain pen. I found myself in traffic waiting for the light to change,
sewing in my mind, taking thread so fine it’s sinewy iridescence barely seen
and stitching the tiny hole shut. Down through the growing skin, back up
catching the soft flap of fresh skin. Up and down, using the same delicate tension my grandmother
taught me to use to create even stitches, until I’d sewn the hole shut thousands of times.
At the clinic, after another ultrasound, the doctor said, “Looky here, nothing to worry about.”
Dana Salvador’s work has been featured in the Prairie Schooner, descant (forthcoming), North American Review, Literary Mama, Water~Stone Review, Red Rock Review, and North Dakota Quarterly, among others. Additionally, she is the recipient of a Vogelstein Foundation Grant and the recipient of the 2016 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award.