Volume 33, Number 4

A Moment of Clarity

Never would have made the connection if
my rural friends weren’t so intimidated by
the trucks on I-70, beltways, city streets,
parking, navigation into unfamiliar territory.
They turn to me, a seasoned pro, raised in the
east, comfortable with six lanes of traffic.
They offer gas money, lunch, use of their own
vehicles if only I will serve as their chauffeur.

First trip’s with Miranda, wearing jeans, t-shirt,
an air of exhaustion. Newly divorced, mother of
two, carrying an acquisition from a one night
stand. We drive across Livingston, past daytime
hookers, drug dealers, boarded crack houses, to an
ugly brick building where I try to shield her from
protesters who feel the need to call us baby killers,
carry signs that inaccurately portray the embryo.

Weeks later, Kelly to a park-like setting, perfect foil
for her linen dress, strand of pearls, manicured nails.
Her face flush with Clomid, I escort her through doors
marked “Reproductive Medicine,” take a seat, look
at brochures with photographs of laughing babies:
Making Miracles Happen. In Vitro Fertilization.
Conquering Infertility.
Begin to read and discover
what happens when the patient abandons embryos.

The truth bursts like a pyrotechnic dahlia on the 4th of
July. Embryos are destroyed in both locations, the only
difference one of control. Kelly’s attempts to go forth
and multiply already fulfill the obligation expected
by the powerful. She gets a pass. Miranda? Her divorce
a black mark. Her willingness to fuck a stranger requires
a thumb placed squarely over her life, a scarlet letter, a
measure of shame, another crying infant to restrain her.

—Mary Moody