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White Rib Woman

Jacob Tashoff

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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.

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