The Sexing

Black, then white, a rorschach universe, all topsy-turvy inkblot turbulence, hard to tell what the hell is happening, the perspective zooming in and out, then suddenly an arm! a perfect little arm, glowing and ghostly translucent, the humerus bone bright white, all five fingers perfectly distinguishable, then black again, the amorphous frame flickering like phosphorescence, warping and throbbing (the frame the uterus, the speckled black mass the placenta, the blacker mass the amniotic fluid), the nurse-technician saying “see, that’s where the umbilical cord enters the navel” and Kelly and I nodding, hmmmm, yes, if you say so, and then out of the black a face! just a face, and not a cute baby face but a hideous evil-doll face, with an unnaturally round lidless eye glaring straight at us, then the angle shifts (mercifully) to a “birds-eye” view, the skull a beaming white circle with a neat slash through the middle of the encompassed space (the separation between the brain’s hemispheres), then a shift again, the face again, but flatter, less terrible, and Kelly says “the face looks like a turtle ” and I say “or like an skeleton” and the nurse “yeah, there’s not much flesh yet” and then the whole body in profile, with a hand flailing about, on and on, this strange, voyeuristic investigation lasting twenty, thirty minutes, before, finally, she finds an angle through the baby’s legs and points out a pair of glowing marks: labia.

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