You might feel a little pressure
So I have my surgery in the morning, followed by a couple of days of bed rest and a month of not-picking-up-heavy-stuff, followed potentially by continued fatherhood. It struck me tonight that I might become Danny Wheeler.
Danny Wheeler was an elder in the congregation I grew up in. His son, Jeff, was about 3 years older than I was, and was about 17 when his parents got pregnant with their second child. They followed, a couple of years later, with a third, and my dad used to joke that Danny would be, if he wasn't careful, giving his kids their allowances out of his Social Security checks.
And here I am, a week shy of my 39th birthday, heading into a doctor's office to get reconnected, just over 17 years after the birth of my daughter. I hope my Social Security checks are big enough to handle those allowances.
When I decided to go through with the surgery a few months ago, I started a poem titled "Ode to my vasectomy (reversed)." It hasn't been published yet, though it's been turned down by some fine magazines. I'm posting it here because, well, because I don't really have much more to say now, other than that I'm nervous. Of course I'm nervous--a stranger is going to be sawing on my nads for three hours tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.
Ode to my vasectomy (reversed)
And now, unsnipped (or soon, if all goes well)
the plumbing reattached, my swimmers free
to hunt for ovum once again. I can’t quite tell
(it’s been so long) what difference there will be
in sex this time around—it felt the same
when I was snipped those fifteen years ago,
but I was young, a new father, and knew
only that I couldn’t bear the shame
of living with my in-laws if ano-
ther child came along. I never rued
that day, not when the marriage came apart
like a burst zipper, our threefold cord rent,
shredded, the friction of separated hearts
and long-submerged desires became apparent,
she to her lovers, I to mine, the fear
in sex now only in disease. No fear of sin,
of future child support, of wrath of God.
I fucked and fucked and fucked for fifteen years;
and now, dropped pants, my doctor feels the skin
for where the vas was clipped, feels for the knots
that seem to say I’ve got a better chance
than most who’ve waited for this long to try.
The good news: “I’ve got nodules in my pants”
means that it’s now thirty percent plus five
that we’ll conceive, that we’ll bring in a child
(or three—one never knows what will come
once this gets going). Children. Names we have,
a board full, drawn in blue and aqua green dry-
erase marker, for easy changes. It’s odd
we say, to talk, debate and haggle
over Pearl, Irenie, Nyssa, Eden,
Trajan, Laszlo, Buck or Mr. Whiskers.
No compromise. We want a meeting
of the minds, names our friends won’t whisper,
roll their eyes at, or worse, think ordinary.
Perhaps something in Latin, with a joke
hidden in the unfamiliar tongue.
Something strong yet odd, cool and airy,
ephem…, no, ethereal, like smoke.
The naming’s hard; at least the making’s fun.