My initial response to the RoevWade memo leak of May 2nd 2022

I shared this poem on facebook. I wrote it very quickly on Tuesday morning May 3rd, and made minimal edits.

On May 4th, I took a writing workshop with poet activist Andres Sanchez where he emphasized the importance of story-telling and activism.

Here is the poem.


I had sex at 16 with

my first seriously sexy



then one time

the condom broke

and despite the backup


and correctly inserted

diaphragm I thought i was

pregnant at 17

i got super scared and thought now what?

i talked to my mom who had

gone with me to the gynecologist

to get the diaphragm

and she said you can get an abortion

in New York State.

this was 1972. I wrote a formal

letter to the governor

— I think I typed it — saying please veto the attempt

to repeal the abortion law.

my first experience with legalities

applying to


to my uterus and to

the repercussions of

a pleasure

I did not yet

fully feel.

but this threat —

i felt it



my mom was a strange

withdrawn person

with a broken

marriage to my father — she

was hard to be close to but

when this scare happened

she told me

as we huddled in my pink bedroom

about the illegal abortion she had

during world war 2. how weird it was

going to some New York doctor’s office after

hours with

a bunch of cash. the receptionist was

hostile, she said, thinking perhaps my mom was

going to rat them out, but no — she

was just a debutante gone rogue

in her designer dress

clutching her black purse full of dollars.

She didn’t say that it hurt

but she remembered the doctor

stuffing her vagina full of cotton wadding

and her going home,

acting like nothing had happened.

the point is i never had to do anything

like that

and once again i remember that

my remote mom

could be so surprisingly


when you least

expected it.


oh mommy–

we never want to

go back

to those

days of


and fear.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s