Poem by Lauren Zuniga
To the Oklahoma Lawmakers
To the Oklahoma lawmakers
Who will force all women to receive an ultrasound prior to an abortion
Why don't you print out the ultrasound pictures in pastel frames?
Make me take them home and hang them on my wall
As a souvenir of the night that is branded like red coals to the flesh
On my memory
The night when his hand
Pressed so hard against my shoulderblade I felt more intimacy with asphalt.
Why don't you knit the baby a sweater?
Make me take it out and smell it on the anniversary of this day for the rest of my life
To remind me
That I chose to be a murderer
Instead of bringing a child into a world where
We kill people in the name of freedom, but imprison people in the name of life.
You could pass laws for that too, y'know?
It's bad enough that I can still see his handprints on my thighs
But now I can see your probing eyes
Scraping across my cervix tattooing my womb with shame -- why don't you send me a card?
Every Mother's Day to remind me how wretched I am,
Sign it, "Your friends at the State Capitol,
Making sure you know we actually do something all day with your tax dollars." Look:
I know it can be boring,
Between the Porkers' Association Breakfast and the oil and gas industry lunch and I
Know you need somethin to do
Between screwing up our elections system and passing off your racism as an immigration bill
But I need a little more from you than a piece of paper!
I mean, if you really wanna show me that you believe in
And Freedom then why don't you come along for the ride?
I could have used you that night
After the football game
Him finally showing me attention,
Me, grasping for acceptance
Tell me I'm special
So when he hands me the next drink I don't look to the bottom of it for approval
Tell me to scream louder so someone might find us
Wrap me in a blanket when he's done, take me home
My heart a tapped keg, my body the grimy gym floor after the pep rally
Give me the words to say to my parents when I come out of the bathroom with a plus sign on the stick and he won't even talk to me!
The school hallway is a canyon
Silence echoes in my skull, and I don't know what to do!
Tell me what to do!
Sit with me at the clinic, the ticker plucking away at my innocence
Give me the revelation
That the blip on the screen
Is actually a baby!
Take me home when I change my mind
Take me to the doctor every month hold my hand in the delivery room
I will name him after you
If you will help me do my homework when he's crying in the next room
Give me food stamps pay my gas bill put him in an after-school program where he learns he can sell my pain pills
Have mercy on him when he goes to court
Give me strength when they sentence him if you want to play God
Mister and Missus Lawmakers
If you wanna write your Bible
On my organs
Then you better be there
When I am down on my knees
Pleading for relief
From your morality.
Someone find this a first publication, and then reprint it in every high school and first year university level poetry anthology in North America.