Abigail Greenbaum

Abigail Greenbaum’s essays and stories have appeared in the Atlantic, New World Writing, Free State Review, the Butter, the Louisville Review, and other places. In 2017, she received a Nan Snow Emerging Writing Award from the C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference. She teaches at Georgia Highlands College and holds an M F A from the University of Mississippi. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her daughter.

On Self-Rescue

This past summer, I didn’t run the Upper Green, the Chattooga, or any of my favorite whitewater rivers, because my kayak skirt no longer fits around my pregnant belly. That’s what I say to my boating friends when they invite me on trips. But the truth is I haven’t been on rivers since before my body showed its tenant. I’ve been scared. Pregnant, I’ve lost my balance. For weeks, I couldn’t rise from bed without the contents of my stomach rising also. In the early days, I felt stoned on my own body, a fuzziness around the edges of everything that happened. I lived from sleep to nap to sleep. My body’s resources have been focused on growing earlobes, or on maintaining an ecosystem in which fetal eyes can move from their fishlike starting points to their final location. Learning to read a whole new set of instincts and sensations, I feel strange in my own skin. I don’t trust the physical instincts I once had. Paddling in actual swift water has felt undoable. I’ve long been afraid to roll a kayak up from the river water in which it has flipped, but I still spent several years learning how.…

Notes from a Nonnative Daughter

The hunters do not trust me. Not even after I drive three hours down from northwest Georgia, offer beer from my cooler, and stow my sleeping bag in a trailer at their camp. They believe I am an undercover animal-rights…