? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 12

Poetry

Laurie King-Billman

The Reproduction Blues


I hear you two are “trying.”
Was it a shock to hear that babies
come easier to those
who do not care so much?

Don’t you just dread that word
“barren,” a medieval curse begging
modern science for a cure,
lingering like a plague.

You will begin to understand
the idea of gambling
at the casino for reproduction.
You will spend time at the slots.

Hold your breath,
pull the handle down.
Cross your fingers,
open your legs,
spend your savings.

It becomes an obsession,
dreadful to stop just before a win.

I remember the clinic:
they laid me out and tried
to find a royal flush in my ovaries,
my womb withholding what my heart desired.

I developed luck-enhancing rites.
Have you stood on your head
after lovemaking yet?
Consulted a palm reader?

At the slots, younger players stand next to you,
thinking only of the body’s sweet desires,
drinking, laughing, and showing no respect.
They don’t want the jackpots they so easily win
and you may have the luck to redeem.