dear self at thirty

I forgive you. Biology is not your friend. Every time you made love the barrier. A diaphragm. The rubber dishing the womb. Every. Single. Time. Except for when. Your beautiful son. Smiling boy, hair the color of red horizon. With designs on your lap. He liked it there, the rumble chamber. Shame is only part of the story.

I forgive you. You prayed picketers wouldn’t revolt your intention. Every decision made in the crucible of the heart. Your heart. Your crucible. A deal is a deal is a deal. Fatherhood is not for everyone. You brought a child into this world already. Obligation leaves you high and sighing. Stranded. And so alone. You hear your bones cant, cant canting for six weeks. Unwanted is not a place to begin.

I forgive you. The procedure sounds like violence. Dilation and curettage. Words for empty. You are naked with regret. Legs opening only to woe. You are without job, without health insurance. Your husband dreads the table with his flat forehead. You feel him like alarm. The nurse presses down on your chest with judgment. Her Doublemint® in your face. The muscles of your heart gallop with anesthesia.

I forgive you. Possibility collapses like a speculum, seeing into yourself. A mirrored funhouse edging disbelief. Despite all. Here you are. Days in a dark room. Nobody said it would be easy. You hear knocking outside the door. You yearn for new circumstances. To reassemble the pieces around what was lost. To forget the godawful scraping on your soul.

© Tori Grant Welhouse