Kevin Brown

n. — something that should be done

Another date arranged by marriage-minded
mothers or brothers
or co-workers who hope to gather
grandchildren and playdates,
another conversation over
coffee, this one cut
short, as we become encircled

by a cadre of couples—
with kids, of course—who confuse
creation and procreation, believing
their children are furniture,
can fill the empty rooms

of their lives. We become mute,
mimes trapped behind a box
of expectations, amazing
my relatives when I report
our silence, as they believe
speech is autonomic,

like breathing, blinking,
falling in love.
They see my singleness
as a curse that needs
to be exorcised
by some ancient mating

ritual, so they sacrifice
my solitude to their gregarious
god of fertility, sending
me out to find
yet another virgin.

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