She liked the way her body felt most at night. She listened to the soft hum of moths and mosquitoes climbing the edges of the torn net that hung above her bed, to her sister’s heavy breathing, and to her mother hissing in surprise after the occasional firework. Here in bed, the darkness drank in her body, the sliding folds of her stomach, her squat legs and thick hands. At night she stole away, north, like her cousin, to a land made of post-card pictures or the black-and-white lands that she glimpsed on the screen through the neighbor’s window. She loved her body for its ability to hide itself. And to hide the child-to-come high up along her waist, folded and safe.
The doctor came from Asuncion with his briefcase of yellow fever vaccines. Everyone would get shots. Her mother held each of her daughters’ arms tight as they waited in line. Hand resting on her stomach, she felt the first kick. Her mother pushed her towards the doctor. Brushing a strand of sweat from above her lip, she put out her arm. That week the blood returned and scrawled small notes across her underwear. At night, she wondered if the shot had killed it. But it was still inside, a thick, warm knot under her clasped hands.
Then she bled and bled down there.