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
to my uterus and to
the repercussions of
I did not yet
but this threat —
i felt it
my mom was a strange
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
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
and once again i remember that
my remote mom
could be so surprisingly
when you least
we never want to