Nature's Perfect Food by Casey Bell

When she woke up, she discovered that her breasts had grown soap dispensers. Tiny plastic perched just at the nipples. She pushed the lever down on her left breast and baby-powder scented suds foamed out in a white puff in her palm. This is what happens, she thought, when you demand too much from your body. Some sort of retaliation for marathon breastfeeding.

The baby stirred in its crib across the room, bicycling its legs in footed pajamas. She wiped the puff of soap on the bed sheet and pried herself up. She picked up the baby and cradled it in the crook of her arm, rocking slowly.

They never gave advice about situations like this in parenting books or at prenatal visits or at the breastfeeding community meet-up group she’d joined. There was no room for it in our cultural imagination. Though Ellen, her cousin, grew twin paper towel dispensers from her breasts, not long after giving birth. She remembered the rectangular projections pressing against her bra. And Sue, a friend at work, developed two tiny fax machines, blinking at all hours of the night. Paper jam, please see manual for assistance.

The baby reached for the small soap dispenser on her left breast. She hesitated. Was it natural if it came from her own body? The baby strained, hungry to feed. After a moment, she let it latch on; she started working the miniature plastic lever as the baby drank.

Casey Bell is an MFA candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno. She's hard at work on a short story collection that explores motherhood, womanhood, and the ways our culture conflates them. Her work recently appeared in the New Limestone Review.