Given the perfect circumstances, I die childless. My stomach never stretches, ribs never
ache, pelvis never weighs down, my womb’s crevice never surrenders to someone else’s DNA.
Really, every nine months is the best months of my life. I’m not pregnant, hooray!
In an ideal world, a surgeon cuts me open clutch-to-gut and takes that uterus sucker right
out. Sew it into someone else, Doc. There are plenty of other people who’d like it; donate it to a
trans woman or miscarriage-ridden mother or egg-dry Mormon or honestly just any living adult
human who is able and willing and wanting. It’s just wasting space in my body.
The only thing I birth is mistake. I want my one failed attempt at romance, my abandoned
graduate degree, my many moves back and forth across the country, and whatever else I mess
up. My life is ripe for the ruining! Where will I break or spill something next, who will I stutter
at or misspeak to, how badly will my knee bleed from future falls? Time moves so fast with age,
there’s barely a minute to spare for the inconveniences I have planned. And I have numerous, let
me tell you. New York City has my name on it, so does getting my nipples re-pierced, and seeing
if I like cheesecake now. This flesh suit has a packed schedule.
Nowhere in the chicken-scratch, however, do any of the appointments say “Conception,
@ Your Vagina, 8 p.m. EST.” My body most likely wouldn’t even know how to get pregnant. I
menstruate only three times a year, my arms can’t cradle, and my hormones vehemently reject
proximity to babies. If there’s an anti-maternal, I fit the bill.
Thankfully, outside pressure to procreate has lessened since I was a child. Now I mostly
only hear it from my grandfather, who hopes I pass on the family name, and the errant stranger
or media source vocalizing bias and traditionalism. I remember, though, when every grocery
store trash magazine cover worried that an actress was getting too old to have kids, zoomed in on
singers’ stomachs to discern if they’re getting fat or have a baby bump, mom- and fat-shamed
new celebrity mothers, and threw shade at teen stars’ unexpected expectancy. Society dictated:
get married to the opposite sex in your early twenties, make a baby soon after, have two children
before you turn thirty, make sure to get hot again after every birth. This still exists, but not as
loudly. Deviance is less punishable as we age and teach out such limited values. The
“nontraditional family model” has risen, and it’s only a matter of time before this phrase too is
On the flip side, the pressure for productivity seems to ever increase. Succeed at school,
succeed at physical and mental health, succeed at work, succeed at social and romantic
relationships, succeed in a timely manner. I must always be doing. I must be striving. I must
achieve. Guess that’s just something else I mess up. Besides some writing aspirations and
preferred city residencies, I lack ambition. I have no life goals, no hard yesses. There are
experiences I’m open to, like pet ownership and starting a writing retreat and marrying my
friends for tax benefits, but none are requirements for my happiness. The knowns are only
negatives. Gonna pass on skydiving, really rather not live in the same place twice, definitely no
kids. Everything else is optimistic mistakes.
Given the perfect circumstances, I die at twenty-nine in a secluded little house near the
ocean. My décor is skull-heavy, the air smells like cake, and there’s a box in the closet with
overstock copies of my three books. It’s normal for my friends not to hear from me in a while,
but my landlord knows something’s amiss when rent isn’t paid a week early per usual. When the
coroner chicken-scratches on their clipboard after cutting me open sternum-to-clavicle, they
mark carb-clotted arteries and smoky lungs. Pierced nipples. Impulse-tattoos scattered all over
my flesh. A deep gash on the back of the head, where it struck the wine rack because I flubbed
my yearly can-I-still-do-a-cartwheel check, the cause of death. They mentally note the pubes
shaved into a lightning bolt (thank you for noticing, Doc, it seriously took so long to achieve),
but aptly decide not to write it down. No evidence of childbearing.
Pencil-in my obituary in the crossword puzzle of your trash mag. She’s passed on. She
had an accident. She had a good enough time. She passed nothing on.
Kylie Ayn Yockey is a queer southern creative with a BA in Creative Writing & Literature. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Glyph Magazine, Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, Night Music Journal, Gravitas, Ordinary Madness, Stray Branch, and Not Very Quiet. She has edited for Glyph, The Louisville Review, Ink & Voices, and is poetry editor for Blood Tree Literature. www.kylieaynyockey.com