to not give

we had a talk
beyond the expectations of our parents
beyond the demand of our genes to be passed on
beyond what we thought was destined to become our lives

the world of our child likely to be full of environmental disasters
breakdowns and emergencies
events at which humanity has shown its best and its worst

our baby crawled into the room
played on our worn-out rug
her drool fell on the magazines spread across the floor
she noticed how mommy and daddy turned sad
bloodshot eyes looking at her, a trembling loving smile

she put herself together
stood up and walked out the door

we sat down and cried


In 2019, Elle Hunt published an article in The Guardian on BirthStrikers: a movement that waits to procreate given the climate crisis. In 2021, Sophie Pavelle wrote an article about her quest whether or not it is irresponsible to have children given global warming. This poem describes a scene from the emotional talks a couple may have discussing whether or not to start a family.