So usually during Advent I write a poem every day. They’re usually short, often seasonal in theme. This one rather got away from me. NB: My spell check can’t decide whether it wants to use UK or USA English so you get a mix of both; have fun.
Mary at Planned Parenthood
You’d been to the clinic before. That time
you’d walked away a foetus lighter, tall.
This time was different – Joseph
was in your life now, steady,
working with his hands.
It made him better in bed
you’d announced to Elizabeth by text one day.
She wrote back with a dirty emoji
you hadn’t known existed.
Three months in and
today was a routine scan.
The kind sign with its muted colours
jarred by the neon of the ever present protestors’.
KILLING BABIES GOD
were the only words you could ever read.
You’d moved down from Denver to be counted among your relatives
fleeing the gun-crimes but not the mountains.
Joe found a job in a wood-shop, you waited tables,
knocking the occasional fork on the floor with your newfound girth.
The clinic was just around the next block.
When you went back again for the first time to check
pee-stick tucked into your purse
you felt as if the others in the waiting room
would smell your history and intent.
But of course they didn’t.
The couple next to you were surreptitiously poring
over a baby-name book.
You wondered what your medical chart looked like.
Pregnancy, termination at thirteen.
Pregnancy at seventeen.
In between, nothing but a bout of bronchitis.
Whilst the ultrasound went on
you sometimes thought of that earlier acorn
whom you chose never to meet,
of the man with the rough-as-oak-bark hands
that had clasped you in a tight thicket
‘no’ had stuck in your dry throat
’til you coughed it, hacked it
The hands of the radiologist were cold
their latex smell blended with the gel on your protrusion.
It was over quickly, quietly almost.
You tucked the scans into your purse
to show Joe when his shift finished.
You were stood at the receptionist’s
desk when the waiting room filled with wintry air
and you turned to see him, another oak-bark man
with wild hair and wild eyes
and a protrusion of his own, a metal-barreled thing,
the kind which you had fled from
but not fled from the mountains.
There were shots and though you twirled and curled
your belly away,
they caught you, dropped you.
You were rushed from clinic to ER,
face upturned, your grimace reminiscent
of a carved marble saint’s ecstatic wince.
Slowly you faded, became a number
that news sites and sources would alert
under the heading: three killed.
The right-wing channels would not report
the murder of this unborn child.