Don’t Forget the People Most Impacted by Loss of “Roe” — People on the Edges

I had written a completely different article for Mother’s Day, but when — between May Day and Mother’s Day — someone leaked a draft of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade I decided to return to the text of Roe decision. This decision affirms that safe abortions are a constitutional right that is protected by the federal government. It was early in the Roe Supreme Court Justice Blackmun gives the majority opinion. This line is surprising for a legal argument.

We acknowledge our understanding of the sensitive and emotional nature the abortion debate, the strong opposing views even among doctors, and the deep and seemingly unshakeable convictions that it inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.

What might “exposure to the raw edges of human existence” look and feel like for the people most impacted by the threat against federal protection of safe abortions — oppressed and marginalized people, survivors of the prevalent sexual violence culture in the United States, and poor women, girls and queer people without access to autonomous medical care?

What would happen if we, those who believe in safety, embodied autonomy and care for all humans, collectively recognized what it means being on the edge?

I hope that when future generations tell the story of what happened between May Day and Mother’s Day in 2022, they remember that a large coalition of people, emboldened by love, came together to protect each other Beyond fear and shame. This is a love song and prayer.


The black becoming the morning after in the blue

The toilet stall in white becomes pink

The still raised red the heat from fresh slapped faces

The metal slot on a locked drugstore door

The papercut of peace denied

The growl that the car makes just before it dies

The grazing dress on grateful thighs

The salted corner of your day-stretched eyes

The fast-eroding sand is becoming sea

The temple closest to the fraying hairs

The names of gods you call when no one is listening

Keep the tether around your ankle so you don’t drown

The punch of a breaching whale in cannon-breath

the carbon glut that means the ocean’s death

The best way to keep your child out of school

The line between fools and jokers

The bleaching coral before it browns

Your town’s reputation is at risk

The worn-out name for more falling out of teeth

The flammable dryness in your Christmas wreath

The hourly bedroom, the itching bed

The hand-torn crust communion loaf

Keep, the telling and untelling

The grassy heap smells like a landfill

The hand to hold, the fearful fist

The most difficult three-fourths in a year

The thickest part of your blood

The meaning of the county line

The place where plants learn how to grow sideways

The place where the murderous coyote attempts to corner the roadrunner

The moment he realizes that the grounded bird is gone

ACME’s approach to weapons

The rash on the bracelet before it turns to green

The species’s last gasp before it melts.

Last day of the unpaid monthly month

The rented dawn

The secret spawn senators were sent to quiet

The diet of stamps

The street lamps that leak and promise to take you home

The sportswear that is to blame

the child-locked car we’re already inside

The shotgun tasting

The pharmacy cake

The voice at the bottom

The impossible is possible in wellness

The sticky-hand permission slips

The hole where the twist lock doorknob was once located

You learn by the twitch in your mouth

The moment monsters don family skin

the wet of preacher’s mouth when his subject turns to sin

The third baptism

The last confession

The grout between tiles on the floor

The only store open

The standby flight

The stranger couch

The night before was a sleepless one

The insulting absurdity of every dream

the unaffordable more

The polluted shore

The forgotten birthday

The person behind your blink

The sink that is clogged with stubble

The choking garden

The white-collar Pardon

The hole in holy war

The final before

The bolt-cut locker

The untreated sore

The moment he took the hinges off of the door

The repacked bag

the dragging heels

The soles that have been scraped

The yard-sale stroller

Parking lot dandelion

Stains that can be cleaned only with dry-clean

The sharpened pencil teacher you told

The red pen of one who already knew

They cancelled the daddy-daughter lock-in at the church in spring

the can’t remember days before graduation

the can’t forgets

Please wait!

The night when the moon disappears

The terrifyingly fertile years

The pinstriped wink is visible through the window

Mars’ soft landing spots

The quiet electric backseat escape cars

The afterschool sound barrier

The bus transfer expired

The rising cost for over-the counter concealer

The tab for florists

The back make-up date:

The not yet visible weight

The purple eye

The painted lip

Weekend trips: The trashed receipts

The hotel lotion

The bitter, tepid tea of prayer

Addendum to the nondisclosure agreement

The password to the burner account to make money transfers.

The billboard exit at the highway where God starts to need advertising

The last vaquita’s throat was sliced by the gillnet

The day you realize that no amount french fries will satisfy this hunger

The speech ends with a thank you to our veterans for their willingness to die.

The last note of any song about freedom is the one you hear.

the hour they start to play the “Cosby” reruns

The dotted lines on coupons in your grocery store app

The feathery feel before the softness of a T-shirt is transformed into hole

the phlegm of the lurking troll saying ‘you shall not pass’

Penicillin’s sell-by date

The inches oceans need to rise

The degrees of heat that the sky is before convection occurs

The quick affection of despair

The tucking of your hair behind your ears

The ridge at the end of your shoe that cuts your swell

The spell with the missing word

The shoal with broken bottles

Your secrets are hidden behind the walls and staircases

The places where skin loses its color

The exact amount of blood you can shed and still be able to breathe

When you leave, the exact ratio of sharp to blunt words

the heartbeats between May Day and Mother’s

The pronunciation of justice

the number of i’s in opinion

Repetition of s in dissension

Keep your name out!

The part of the key that can be cut

The overlap of memory and dream

The gut elbow rhythm is again

The shelf where dystopia is sold as nonfiction

The need

The light

The right

The day

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