Deathwish 018: Asha

Editor Matty Byloos, Editor's Choice, June 10th, 2015

"...hiss and wheeze then silent for four years until..."

NAILED deathwish asha

I ask the gynecologist for permanent sterilization. She flips through my chart, calculates my age, my three living children, still so young. She frowns, Why?

I don’t want to die.

She laughs and I laugh and squeeze my hands into fists, suck in my breath the way I sucked it in, fast, walking backward out of the hospital room while Dad’s body lurched, seizing, liver toxins swarming his organs and muscles and brain, his own breath crackling, a surgeon’s hands threading an intubation tube down his throat, breath pumping mechanical, hiss and wheeze then silent for four years until another long breath when I looked down at my own body on a hospital bed, morphine drip in my own arm, belly under a thin knit blanket, blood spreading bright red up the blanket, toward my chest. I think the baby’s here, I said, and a nurse lifted the blanket, lifted the small body of the baby, dropped the baby into a medical waste bin.

Another nurse another year shot something into my Dad’s arm. He fell back, still.

The nurse who lifted my baby shot new blood into my IV line. I fell back. Still.

The gynecologist won’t schedule my sterilization because I’m too young, haven’t lived long enough to decide which life spills out of my body. Or what stays.


The next week, my husband schedules a vasectomy. His urologist severs the flesh, shows him the small stretch of fabric, tissue that would deliver his DNA into my DNA. Collision.

Six months later, I am pregnant again. No longer sterile. I look at the skin of my belly, chubby from the three pregnancies it has already endured.

Please don’t let me die.

But, to the small life inside: Stay. I want you to stay.

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To read the previous installment, “Deathwish 017: Sara,” go here. To participate in Deathwish, find details here.

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Asha was born in Pensacola, Florida, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).