Winter 02


The Vasectomy Cartoon Family




     Your urologist will give you a pamphlet that tells the story of your family, in tasteful colored pencil before and after your permanent outpatient procedure. You have had enough children, though probably more than the handsome young boy pictured here.
     "A vasectomy will not save your marriage!" cartoon health professionals want you to know, and you, the healthy white father, understand this well. Your marriage is perfect! The financial strain of unwanted children will ruin everything! Never mind that your cartoon wife will gain fifty pounds at least and at her age is less likely to lose it!
     "This is a good investment in family planning, but it is permanent!" warns the health professional. You continue to smile, acknowledging and comprehending everything.
     At home, after your undepicted cartoon surgery, your lone illustrated son brings you a glass of something probably non-alcoholic. You have a book and a blanket over your lap, sweatpants, as per your physician's recommendation. Your crotch is a swollen cartoon scribble which should be just fine after the three-day weekend. You are reclining on the sofa, looking upbeat, smiling up at your son, who is smiling down at you, unaware that your mutilated scrotum, and cleaved vas deferens, or the ice pouch in your well-sketched jock strap is because he is enough, this one good son. The other sons, not pictured, maybe gone off to college, smoking pot in the basement or stationed in the cartoon Philippines, institutionalized or maybe stillborn, one after the other, are gone and not wanted back or ever remembered. And The New Others floating aimlessly in the giant warehouse of a dead-end nut-sack will never mouth off to you or suffer a bad report card.
     Those imaginary children get absorbed and reabsorbed back into the crotch of you, the smiling man who stares at his handsome young son, the son who is all the cartoon children he needs, the son who brings the beverage and smiles the clean white line of teeth, uninterrupted with division of any kind. So good! He won't cost a penny in orthodontics! This son, this one good son who sprang from your loins in golden perfection is worth the sea, the swamp, of others.


Barbara DeCesare has had poems published in over 45 journals nationwide, including The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Birmingham Poetry Review, River Styx and Gargoyle. She has been featured at hundreds of venues including the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The New School in New York City and The Baltimore Museum of Art. She is the book review editor of Wordhouse, the Baltimore Writers' Alliance (BWA) literary guide, and an an at-large member of the BWA executive board. The (Baltimore) Sun has called her work "what thunder looks like in writing." She serves as The 98 Rock Poet Laureate (WIYY 97.9 Baltimore) where monthly she supplants/combines fart jokes with poetry during the morning drive time. She is a single mom of three kids and works as a legal assistant for one of the best ambulance chasers in Maryland. She enjoys reading autopsy reports.