Conception Story

On the third floor Joe in the bathroom jerks off

to gay porn. My sister and her partner in bed

warm up. A row house in Philly, three-story

attached, I sit on the first floor with Mom

we make small talk. She wonders why everyone

went to bed so early. I imagine Joe handing

Louise the still warm cup, her with the turkey

baster, how they will maneuver to insert

the sperm at climax, the perfect condition

for insemination, my sister tells me. Still

surprised at her change of heart to carry

a child, this first attempt of many. Mom’s

continual delusion that Jill and Joe will

marry—two lawyers—she only tolerates

Louise. A baby will shift our dying family.

Mom stares at the TV with blank eyes,

arthritic, stranded on the first floor.

I kiss her goodnight, go one flight up,

hang with Joe who’s tired, sitting

with his thoughts about becoming

a father.

Originally published in Cliterature

Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle. She has a chapbook and two full size poetry books. Her most recent, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and won the Bisexual Book Award. Her work is widely published in journals and anthologies. Find her online at, and on Twitter @trippweavepoet.