Scrap Metal Baby - Melissa Scholes Young

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by Melissa Scholes Young

Scrap Metal Baby likes her momma’s milk best. It fills up her hollow tin stomach and pools in the corners of her mouth. White foam laced with gasoline and a hint of motor oil.
Watching the greasy mixture drip down the front of her blouse shocked Momma at first.

The doctors said her body would adjust and it has. Momma’s breasts bear tiny clean scars and fresh cuts from the baby’s mouth. Miniature white leeches in a criss-cross pattern swim against her creamy skin. The baby readjusts her mouth at the nipple and fresh blood rises to the surface. Momma winces as the baby kneads the breast with her corrugated phalanges. She sucks her momma dry, one breast and then the other, and they hang limp like deflated balloons.

“We’ve got to get you on transfusion oil again, Shelby,” Momma says. “I need some sleep in a bad way.”

Momma rubs her eyes and yawns. She leans back into her rocking chair and her eyes fall shut for a moment. Shelby releases a burp, which perfumes the air with the flinty scent of cold steel. Her engine makes a satisfied low rumbling and begins to purr. Then she curls up in her momma’s arms and the metallic slits of her eyes snap shut. Momma sighs and holds Shelby close, grateful for the moment when this love doesn’t damage her.