Flipping, squirming, hiccuping being inside
belly moves, bulges, requires
tables to be shifted
body to be shifted
gait and stride and way
move through the world
to be shifted
to make room, one day, for
Whose uterus is it?
Increasingly, it seems, not the person in whose body it resides, not when US states have to debate — though most aren’t even doing that — whether to compensate women they insulted and forcibly sterilized, when pregnant athletes are banned from sports, when, not long-ago but right now, women face murder charges for pregnancy or neonatal losses, when women are being stripped of rights and social supports and we can’t even get the powers that be to acknowledge this systematic attack.
There are two unique genetic signatures here in this chair, but only one body. Two heartbeats, but one flesh that interacts with the world. The person-ification of the parasite within me, the extent to which I am I-and-other, is for me to decide — not strangers who wish to rub my belly, not family who speak of “our baby”, not governments who would criminalize my choices not for their effect on my fellow citizens but for perceived damage to the flesh-in-and-of-my-flesh.
I am not heartless, not lacking in sentimentality, not ignorant of the profundity of the person-creation that is procreation, of the of-me-but-not-me-ness of the being within me. But as long as it is within me, sustained by me, symbiotic with me as no other stage of existence can be; as long as this is so, no one has the right to dictate or regulate my rights, my choices, my self as though it is not my body who will bear those burdens.
Because, whatever you may say, it is my uterus.