Two women sit on a little sofa in an office on the outskirts of the capital. Across from them, behind a desk, sits an elderly man in a white coat. A map showing the inner topography of the vagina is plastered on the wall behind him. They’d argued with the cab driver on the way. He’d been driving a cab for thirty years and thought it best to take the route along the coast, like he’d always done. We’re running late to make a baby, too late to be polite and deferential to a thirty-year career.
The vagina on the wall reminds them of an appointment in another office with another elderly man. He also sat behind a desk, the Indian Ambassador to Iceland. In order to get a visa, they had to explain to him how two women went about having sex. He was sincerely curious, his voice conveying genuine compassion and concern.
From behind his desk, the man in the lab coat uses precise gestures to describe what ovulation is like for women. His hand poised as though holding a little bell, his fingers forming a wing in the air. A sound from his lips, uncanny. They wonder if he makes the same sound for all women, but they forget to ask because one of them has to go behind a little screen and undress from the waist down.
“Í samfélagi manna” © Eva Rún Snorradóttir. From Fræ sem frjóvga myrkrið, published by Benedikt Bókaútgáfa. By arrangement with the publisher. Translation © 2021 by Larissa Kyzer. All rights reserved.