David Watts

Rookie - 45 Points (March 22,1940 / Chicago, IL)

What It Was - Poem by David Watts

What it Was
for Duston

And they asked if it felt like sex
when the sperm hit the egg.
And I said no, which was true, partly,
the in-body sex and the out-
of-body sex—

But they weren't talking biology.

She explained it like conversation,
the egg mother did:
she said she had come to believe
in benevolence, honored
to be chosen, asked me
to give the shot that would start her eggs
rolling, and I did—brief exposure
on a different bed—clinical touch,
fluids entering.

Distance fenestrated, but kept.

—well it did and it didn't
feel like sex, and a child grew
where sex was still trying
to make up its mind.
And the mother who wombed
this child
wondered if sex would be different
now,
new presence claiming the ache
where absence used to be.

Well maybe.And meanwhile
he grew, this child,
and was intelligent, and how
openly his mother could brag
about him, someone said,
because she felt no genetic
connection.What did I know?

I thought it would be the same,
though
it's not the same, is it? —
the womb space connection
and the egg space
connection? —a distinction by truth
and the memory of loss.

Well, they asked again, is it sex
when it happens in a Petri dish?
And I told them

the story Steven Dunn tells,
the girl's poem about making love
in a boat.
A boy in her class said it wasn't
love,
it was fucking.
She said
if it felt like love, it was.
And I say

two women sit on a bed
exchanging poems—
two wombs, one egg—
the one egg missing, the one
provided—

they are writing about the child
and I am in a different room
making myself into
background.

And did I tell you the part
about the boy sitting
in the lavatory this morning?
dipping his washcloth in water—

to make him warm, he said—
draping his legs, almost floating
in his steamy containment?

And the little strings
and beads of water falling
on the tiles
in necklaces of abundance,
and I tell you it is
whatever it wants to be,
sex, love, lust,
benevolence...

this waterchild, this miracle,
this family.

Topic(s) of this poem: love


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2018



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