Micro Prose: WHERE BABIES COME FROM: Spare Parts by Ori Fienberg


The store specializes in spare parts for second-hand children. They stock baskets full of hair, jars filled with different types of glee, a couple binders of childhood collecting obsessions. We run our fingers through bins of button noses, uncork carboys of sibilant cries, and consider whether baseball cards, bugs, or stones will serve our child best.

But we have yet to make a child, so we buy just a small bag of hair to-go, and at home you sift through drawers, cabinets, and shelves: surely if a store can sell spare parts, we can make our own child from things we have lying around the house. There’s a small steel mixing bowl for a belly, an old table supplies the legs, miscellaneous cables for arteries, handfuls of rubber bands and twisty ties for ligaments and tendons, plus a drawer full of old cellphones to supply its brains. Everything we’ve saved, all the parts we were sure we’d find a use for some day we tie, and tape, and hope together.

Clomping around on her wooden legs, rubber bands twanging as she runs up the stairs, we’re then alerted when she takes a tumble by an assortment of late-90s ringtones. We soothe her wood-chipped knees with Murphy’s oil, and when she’s hungry, we crack two eggs, and place mashed banana and flour in her bowl.


Ori_with_Egyptian_DopplegangerOri Fienberg’s short prose and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Essay Daily, Nashville Review, Diagram, Mid-American Review, Subtropics, BOAAT, and decomP. A graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Ori works for the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, and lives in Evanston, IL. Read more at orifienberg.com.


Cover photo by Chris Kamrath

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