My Uterus and I

My uterus and I are no longer on speaking terms.

I don’t understand her problem,
as if my fertility or lack thereof were personal,
as if my choices were a burden to her.

I talk to her in cliches:
                    What’s done is done.
                    The past is past.

I remind her there was that one time when I answered her plea:
                    Come on have a baby, everybody’s doing it.

I warned her,
                    You know what’s in our genes. You know what we carry.

                    Think positively, maybe it won’t be like that.

But a reproductive specialist confirmed,

                    If it’s a girl, the chances of her developing our genetic disease are extremely high.

My uterus protested:
                   Unfair.

During pregnancy, our autoimmune problems would be unmanageable:
pain, hives, rashes, anaphylaxis.

                   You worry too much. Go to a bar and pick up a healthy-looking man.

As if she had never watched a Lifetime movie.

I placated:
	           We could adopt.

She whispered something about biological imperatives 
then ghosted me altogether.
 


That Girl

I wonder what happened to that girl
before she was afraid of the dark
and wary of crowded stores
where men’s hands slapped her ass
sampling her body as if an item on the rack

I wonder what happened to that girl
the one who ran barefoot with
free feet sinking into warm sand
before she felt the weight of her thighs
and the stares that claimed her shape

I wonder what happened to that girl
before her raised hand was ignored
and she was told not to compete
not to be argumentative, bossy, pushy, shrew
that she would never find a boyfriend 

I wonder what happened to that teen
emo, goth, grunge
flannel, flowers, and combat boots
before she knew this war was eons old
as she knocked about in her gilded cage

I wonder what happened to that young woman
helping, saving, healing
with industrious self-sacrifice
before she understood she was failing
becoming a legacy of despondent dependence

I wonder what happened to that young woman
panicked by magazine images
terrified of TV violence
before she strode into
the very relationships constructed to crush her

I wonder what happened to that middle-aged woman
hell bent on having a baby
proving her worth, her purpose
to be consumed by holy motherhood
no matter the cost

I wonder what happened to that old woman
before she was handed a gratitude journal
and told she had no reason for dissent
before she was forced to color in happy rainbows
And pray for more empathy and patience
 


Guile

Was I ever innocent
or did the fable of Eve cast me
in nacho and chip commercials
sliding naked on red sports cars
a long-legged and red-lipped appendage
for power and lust?

Every avenue a catwalk,
I am mussed and bed-headed at sixteen,
groped and pawed in malls and bookstores
by adult Adams
who are allowed to swear to innocence
in ways I am denied. 


About the Author:

V. Bray has been a writer since childhood and still has a box filled with her first “books,” usually illustrated with markers and bound with yarn. She writes in many genres, from speculative and historical fiction to poetry. Her work has been published in About Place JournalBorrowed Solace, the anthology Growing Up Lifespan, and The Writer magazine. Learn more at authorvbray.com.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay