Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sandy Solomon: Little Letter to the Future III

In our time, neighbors posted names

and addresses of abortion nurses, doctors; names

of doctors’ kids, their schools. One website

 

ran red with animated blood.

Doctors died: Gunn, Britton, Slepian,

Tiller. Staff died. And volunteers.

 

Politicians said Planned Parenthood

as if it were code for something bad about

my gender, extending from abortion to sex.

 

Their goal? I read obliteration, an erasure

of women, of my younger self, patient at Planned

Parenthood who went for contraception,

 

cancer tests. Do you still have these needs?

I bent my legs, and propped my feet against

what nurses called stirrups, cold and severe.

 

And later, when I worked as a clinic counselor,

I ministered. Vital signs to read.

Contraceptive means to show and tell.

 

All morning at Planned Parenthood I’d help

patients up on the table, their paper gowns

like long, stiff bibs. And down again.

 

At first, demonstrators outside clinics

only screamed. Today, they take lives:

Ke’arre Stewart, a vet who’d stepped out

 

of a Colorado clinic in search of a better

signal, whose girlfriend had happily learned

that she was pregnant. My younger self, unable

 

to afford a private doctor, would also have been

inside—in an examining room, maybe—her life

open ahead, her belly flat, warm

 

as a plum ripening in sun, the sun

you also know, as you must know the sweet

scents of warmed fruit, women’s bodies.

 

I hope that nothing remains for you of threats,

that you know at most only vague stories:

maybe about Stewart, 29,

 

and a note he posted shortly before he died:

Why must the most beautiful thing

be so confusing? I’m talking about love.


 

Copyright 2018 Sandy Solomon

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