BIG, FAT PREGNANCY LIES
The Union soldier, they say, was shot right through
his testicle, the bullet lodged right
in the fallopian tube of the woman standing right
behind him. Virgin birth, he does the right thing, he marries her.
The 1920s rabbit test: inject your urine into the white fur.
If she lives, no baby, if she dies, you'll convince yourself
you can feel the baby growing, moving, breathing inside you.
Put your hand on your stomach, you're afraid to sleep stomach-down.
The Atlantic states in 1934, girl swallows octopus egg
in the ocean. She cramps in her gut, feels the pinch like someone
has tied her intestines in a knot and keeps pulling tighter.
Eight tentacles grow.
Somewhere else, some girl pregnant from the pool, who knows who
the father is. His sperm swam through the green chlorine as though
they were hounds looking for a scent.
1965, the great New York blackout, the zhoom of the lights
powering down, the refrigerator even stops humming, then
heavy-breathing-groping in the dark, hot breath on a tender neck,
limbs, sex. Let's do it again, the lights are still out.
All those babies nine months later, born of darkness and boredom.
If you want to know the gender,
mix your piss with Drano, watch the color change.
And when it's a mistake, the shake and shoot method. Coca-Cola
spermicide, Dr. Pepper douche. Put your thumb on the bottle,
shake it, spread your legs and stuff the lip of the bottle inside.
The carbonation will kill the sperm heads, and maybe
when you're done, you can get 5 cents return.
Or, maybe you should've tried girl-on-top, or sex on the rag,
or maybe you should've taken 20 aspirin afterwards,
or jumped up and down, your bare, flat feet hitting the ground hard,
or maybe you should've sneezed after he came.
The first lie your mother tells you while you've got a mouthful
of watermelon, a snowball of pink dripping down your chin:
if you swallow a seed, you'll grow a watermelon in your belly.
Your stretch marks zebra like the thick, green rind.
Jean Prokott has had poetry appear in Quarterly West, Midwest Gothic, and Gargoyle. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award in Poetry, and in 2007, she graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with an MFA. Currently, she teaches high school students that writing matters.