Matthew Lippman’s poem provides a dark yet quirky look at contemporary manhood.
When I Was Pregnant
When I was pregnant I lived in a house by the lake and had no neighbors.
My mind wandered from the strawberry patch to the honey bees.
Sometimes I thought about falling stars
and every once in a while wondered
if there were monsters in the trees with blood on their teeth.
My pregnancy went on for years
and the inside of my belly got warmer in the winter
and I listened to Janis Joplin in the fall.
When the loneliness took over it convulsed in somersaults and my back hurt.
I was large and the telephone never rang.
Blue jays and cardinals ate birdseed from the feeder
hung off the oak.
I was a good pregnant and glowed four shades of blue everyday.
I did prenatal yoga,
took walks by the creek
and yelled motherfucker to no one
because it felt good.
Then my wife got pregnant
Not my baby but the happy fat
of the inside-out of my own existence.
I was not sad
for every sacrifice is worthwhile.
I did not blame anyone for I was to blame
and the children that came out sang Verdi and Wagner.
Since then, they have walked on my face in their ballerina slippers and muddy shoes
the dirtiest dance, of course, is the most refined dance.
See, pregnancy is a selfish business
and now I want mine back.
I want it back for the rest of my days on the park bench and in the pool.
I want it in my bed with my woman
who is no longer pregnant
so we can finally have sex and tenderness;
and with my children so I stop locking them in their rooms
after they beat each other
with frying pans and I am out of my mind with fury.
I want it so bad
I drive to the lake with the tall pines,
take off my clothes
and make love to myself on the pine needled forest floor.
It’s rough and rowdy
and when I’m all done
there are welts on my back
that bloom pink and give rise to a fullness
finally full of full.
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