The narrator has entered a hospital lavatory, prepared to obtain his sperm sample. He can hear voices at the nursing station, the everyday comings and goings of patient care. He tries to focus on erotic images, but deadening thoughts of "four hundred million perfect / spermatozoa" keep invading his sanctuary. Waves of guilt lap listlessly around the room, as he tries with eventual success to produce the needed specimen. At this point he emerges triumphant, having convinced himself that "Like John Wayne, your gun is legend." [58 lines]


This is a humorous glance at some of the inner workings of assisted reproduction from the male perspective. The obvious way of looking at it is to focus on the "romance has succumbed to technology" theme. However, a more interesting perspective is the "what ever happened to guilt" theme in which the traditional sin of masturbation has been transformed into a morally desirable act.

Primary Source

Plato's Breath


Utah State Univ. Press

Place Published

Logan, Utah