“Clockwork Conjectures” by Joanne Koong

Joanne Koong


To be honest, there are times when I swear to god I wish I was
lesbian. No sex, no strings attached, no unplanned babies
unless we both want it. There must be something remarkable
in not having to come home and cook
or listen to him, the sudden crusader,
preach about corporation stock markets in between mouthfuls
of the chicken I make; there must, at least,
be some comfort in not having to wait for his XY chromosomes
to leave me one day for a younger vehicle that can spread his
double-helixed spirals like wildfire, like one of those amoebic
bacteria cells on a white dish in a scientific research laboratory.
My faith is in probability; statistically speaking,
the laws of marriage favor the self-sufficient woman
who does not let herself get too attached to something uncertain
or unreliable; the women who do succumb never realize how the divorce rate
between married couples in the United States is growing
and now approaching somewhere around 53%,
which does not even include those who stay together only for kids, money, etc.
If I were to know him too well, I would be able to predict
his body like clockwork, but that wouldn’t stop him from perhaps
saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or forgetting our anniversary
or my birthday or something else that is important only to me. In fact,
he might even get me pregnant, a possibility that is hard for me to anticipate,
and thirteen weeks later, I won’t even be able to be invisible;
strangers will come up and touch my belly to feel possibility, potential,
billions of synapses and neurons not yet created
but able to go anywhere and be anything
without regards to probability or statistics, only chance,
which the doctors and scientists will not even be able to explain,
and at the first prenatal visit, at the first ultrasound,
two hearts will beat inside of me, a millisecond out of sync,
and I won’t even know which is mine.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012

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