Antinatalism by Aaron Sandberg
I witnessed the act of my conception but have since forgotten the details and now sit squarely in a booth smiling with friends but slowly gathering back the finer points of my creation. And with each flicker of scene like a dusty film across my eye, I feel further from grace and closer to them across the wood grain of the table sweating with the condensation from a pitcher, six half-drunk glasses, and a love song on the jukebox. And I—a fallen, ill-tempered angel (who in the first person, once removed) saw myself conceived from somewhere I can’t quite call Heaven—find myself stumbling into a dark stall to carve my vow into the plastic divide (an act of warning, my contribution to the race): I shall never embody myself—never usurp the angels and condemn them to live beneath the poverty line, never let them simply carve a vow in a dark stall even though friends take care of the tab, pace anxiously outside, crush cigarettes beneath their toes, and offer to drive me home.
Aaron Sandberg resides in Illinois where he teaches. His recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Asimov’s Science Fiction, English Journal, Yes Poetry, One Sentence Poems, and Vita Brevis Press, among others. You might find him on Instagram @aarondsandberg.
Photo by Rabie Madaci