Vox Populi

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Larissa Shmailo: Abortion Hallucination

In the corner of the basement where my father used to lie I
watch, interested, as the snake
grows larger and more menacing I am
taken slightly aback but remember him remember that I like
handling snakes and smile
and as always he softens grows smaller
becomes a hippopotamus I have won again I have stared him down
made him warm
and the Nile gives up its life to me
animals carnivorous and calm come home to me
two by two

I watch for the longest time
until the largest fills the window with his face
black as light
Agnus Dei

for this man’s baby for this man’s baby for this man’s baby
came the flood.


Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, translator, editor, writing coach, and critic. Larissa Shmailo's new book is the Writing Resilience Workbook, a book of prompts desgned to elicit elements of the writer's story and form the basis of a memoir. 

Copyright 2022 Larissa Shmailo. First published in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, edited by Annie Finch
Larissa Shmailo

3 comments on “Larissa Shmailo: Abortion Hallucination

  1. matthewjayparker
    November 7, 2022

    Politics bereft of polemics is often the ken of poets.


  2. Sean Sexton
    November 7, 2022

    I’m amazed, and its a good week to begin in amazement.
    She raises the illimitable possibilities of poetry once again to my and everyone’s life.
    We’re going to need poetry like nobody’s business these coming days, no matter what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

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