“One of Those Topics I Shouldn’t Talk About” by Tammy F. Brewer

Tammy F. Brewer


To be honest, there are times when
I say to myself God I hope I’m not

pregnant. My faith is not 100%
in condoms. Why I never had sex

until I was 19. And then I married him
several years later. We have a son now

and I remember when I told him the news.
I came out of the bathroom saying, “Look

what you did!” Pointing the plastic wand
as though he was the only one

responsible. That’s the word that comes
to mind after I hope I’m not pregnant.

Even at 33 I think I should know better
except the pill really screws up my body.

So I choose not to take it. For a long time
I didn’t know what it was to ovulate. Now

my body is like clockwork. Always
two weeks after my period and I tell him

we have to be careful. Responsibilities.
In high school health class we learned

how to give life by blowing air into a dummy’s
mouth. That same year they erected

a Coke machine in the school cafeteria.
Because everyone likes to have Coke.

“But not sex!” my dad said after he found
Ann’s birth control pills in her room. “No

daughter of mine is having it!” To be invisible
is to not be pregnant. Because when you are

pregnant, strangers touch your belly and tell you
what you should and should not do

when the baby comes. Before I know I’m not
pregnant I imagine how my life might be

different. Like changing lanes all of a sudden
when another car doesn’t see me.

When you have a child you worry about space
in the backseat and whether there is too much

sunlight or not enough. I pull the seatbelt tight
across my chest, look at my son in the rearview mirror:

An American flag sways its head back-and-forth
in front of the Georgia Right To Life headquarters. Next door

a young girl looks through the window of a T.V.
repair shop, hair parted unevenly down the middle. Her father

waits in the gravel parking lot, car idling. The trunk
open and empty.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009


Tammy F. Brewer: “Recently I watched a documentary on John Lennon in which he told a story about his son who drew him a picture and when John asked his son what it was a picture of, he replied, ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds.’ John went on to admit that this was how he came up with the idea for the song of the same name. Hearing this, of course, caused me to feel a connection with John Lennon because I, too, often borrow lines from my five-year-old son and use them in my poems. Be careful if you are standing near me at an airport because something you say may end up in a poem.”

Rattle Logo