32, original prose by Ruth Castillo | Salty Mama Doula, San Antonio, Texas


Each month, She comes.

You count, “27 – maybe this time.”

You look to the stars: a full moon would be an auspicious sign.

You mark 28 and smile weakly.

You did things you never imagined that you would, consulting with elders who prescribe new rituals, herbs, teas…


Did you do it right this time?


You hold your breath, maybe you have broken the curse.


Your room spins as you put the wand down, look up and count “one-hundred-twenty-Mississippi.”

Maybe you need to wait awhile more.

32. Patient. Maybe.

She comes to you in the middle of the night, a daemon of cleansing. A tide of fresh starts. The horror of starting over – again.

You mourn your ritual and all your offerings. You cleanse and rest, ready for another cycle. Another ritual.

One day, day 280 might come.

32 pomegranate fertility ritual prose ruth castillo salty mama header


“32” is original prose by Ruth Castillo, first appearing in Soother- Femmes Grieving Family and Fertility (May 2015).  Thank you to Cristina Gonzalez for editing support.  Header image adapted from “Halloween Fruit” by Tedd Okano (via Flickr), under Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).