Heart Shaped Uterus
– Nonfiction by Betsy Guttmacher –
Honorable Mention in the 2023 Dreamers Micro Nonfiction Contest
I wanted no hospital, no beige plastic, no beeping, and no wires in or out of my body. I wanted low light, whispers, and cream colored muslin. What I wanted was a big warm tub, maybe a banjo or possibly a whole bluegrass band, my cat and cookies, good books and a baby that just slipped right out like a little seal, flippers flapping, ready to be licked. I was willing to travel to Manhattan, even took my toddler there to watch a movie of a lady giving birth, full vagina shot, the whole scifi thing, all these parents and their little firstborns, determined to get it righter the next time, all of us gathered around the TV screen grooving on the grotesque miracle. My toddler rapt, eyes glued to this wild nature documentary, some skinny-ass lady just pushing the baby out like it was nothing, and all my kid says to me in an incredulous tiny whisper is, but how’d the baby get inside the lady?
Back in Brooklyn after we hear the birthing center was shut down, after we hear that kid number two just won’t turn around, won’t do the flip no matter how long I keep a Walkman stuffed in my underwear luring him to pirouette with Beethoven and Jimmy Hendrix, after all that, I’m prostrate under fluorescents and some dick doctor is trying an aversion on me. He’s trying to twist my unborn kid, all I can see and feel are his white coated ice pick elbows. I’m gripping the side of whatever shit table I’m on, choking back tears, gasping in pain until my man threatens to punch the doc and the guy looks up sweaty and wild eyed, tells us he thinks I have a bi-cusped uterus, it’s got two chambers, shaped like a heart really, and my little guy, his head is nestled in one of the chambers, see he’s stuck, too big now to turn, so that’s that, they gotta cut him out.
And when the time comes, it takes all of 15 minutes, I’m so doped up I drawl allllllllllllllllllllll rigggggghhhhhht in my best McConaughey because suddenly there he is, no hours of agony, no wanting to haul off to heave him out under a desert shrub, my little seal, plopped right onto my chest like a box of chocolates ready for me to gobble him up. But my big man, he’s white as a ghost, splayed out on a chair on account of the doc being so impressed with himself, the doc had to show him, had to show this man his wife’s heart shaped uterus, laid out on my stomach surrounded by little blubbery fat blobs — my uterus, out on top of my body, can you imagine — all before sewing it back in. But I don’t care, I’ve got my little seal and forever he will tell the world I came straight from her heart.
About the Author – Betsy Guttmacher
Betsy Guttmacher lives in Brooklyn NY, USA, her work can be found in Bowery Gothic, the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, and the Bridge. She has been a member of the poetry collective Sweet Action since 2015 and is a contributor to three of its chapbooks. She worked for many years in the non-profit sector and is currently a reiki practitioner in collaboration with community groups, western medical providers, and individuals. She is interested in relationships…to ourselves, each other, our planet and the universe. Her long-time obsession is photo-documenting naturally occurring hearts made of trash, reflections, cracks, and other ephemera found on city sidewalks.
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