White Rib Woman
So the Lord God cause the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man— Genesis 2:21-22.
The child was born with an extra rib.
The doctors were not concerned,
and hurried to assure the parents
that this was not a bad thing,
one in two-hundred people
are born with a cervical rib, but it may
cause some complications down
the road, and it’s a wonder they even noticed the
extra rib anyway, practically a miracle.
And so, when they were allowed,
the parents took the child home
and forgot all about his cervical rib,
and the possibility of him developing
thoracic outlet syndrome, and when
he told them that sometimes his
hand felt numb and all tingly
like someone was jabbing him
in all his fingers at once with needles,
they rushed him to the hospital.
In a surprising turn of events,
this new doctor told the anxious parents,
they would have to perform surgery
on the child, to reduce the compression
of blood vessels. They would have
to remove the scalene and subclavius
muscles along with the first rib.
When the surgery was complete, the doctor
handed the father the removed rib,
and he took it home with him in a little
paper bag not unlike what the mother
often packed the child’s lunch in
before school. The father kept the rib
in the garage, not really knowing what
he was to do with it, nor really understanding
why the doctor had entrusted it to him,
but he didn’t question it too much.
Doctors were queer folk, more often
then not. As the child grew older,
the father became involved in a
woodworking workshop for fathers
hosted at the child’s elementary school,
and he grew quite fond of the art,
and quite good at it too,
and it was then that he knew what to
do with the wayward rib in his garage.
Late at night, as his wife and child slept,
the father sat in the basement with a small
collection of rotary tools designed
especially for carving bone. He spent
seven nights like this, huddled
over the child’s rib, grinder in hand,
and carefully carved the bone into
the shape of a woman.
When the child’s birthday came round
the next week, the father proudly
presented his work as a gift,
and the child loved it, and the mother
insisted on placing it carefully
on the child’s bedside table,
and there rested the
White Rib Woman
as the child slept,
never speaking, never moving,
but the child thought she
smiled at him when he
draped a doll house blanket
across her white rib shoulders.