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Art Poetry

Unfathomable

“Unfathomable pain leads to unfathomable choices”

By Brigid Hannon

I never had an abortion but
one morning I needed Plan B.
I asked the pharmacist in hushed tones but
he stared back loudly and
looked me up and down.
I felt examine and exposed as he
slid the box across the cool counter with his cool eyes
that judged a woman he had never met.
I shook off his stare; I’d seen it before.
It was the third pharmacy I had tried.

I never had an abortion but
I started taking birth control at seventeen
when my doctor suggested it
for medical reasons.
I obliged,
secretly satisfied to be prepared,
just in case.
Still some whispered
that preparation must mean practice,
and my good little schoolgirl self would
hide my pills
at the bottom of my purse,
ashamed that I was safe.

I never had an abortion but
I have tubes they won’t tie
because I haven’t provided my requisite number of children
to overpopulate an already dying planet.
They call you “woman”
before they call you “human.”
They make mothers from little girls,
victims,
the unprepared.
My uterus grows cobwebs,
not babies,
and that is the choice I made.

I never had an abortion but
I know someone who did,
and it was as little my business as it is yours.
I saw the duality in her eyes,
the sadness mingled with relief that
belied her traumas.
Her hand shook as she lit her cigarette.
I don’t know if she regrets it.
Her choices were not mine, nor yours,
nor senators or governors or presidents or God.

I never had an abortion but
I never said I wouldn’t.
Unfathomable pain leads to unfathomable choices
and I stand with sisters who
have stood alone too long,
screaming in the faces of old white men
who couldn’t find a fallopian tube with a map.
Betrayed by women who
put their God before their constituents,
in total violation of a job description.
I stand with sisters who
have cried tears I cannot imagine,
deep wells of sorrow and remorse,
that have swallowed them in a shame they don’t deserve.

I never had an abortion but
I was taught to be secondary.
I was taught to be compliant.
I was taught to be ashamed.


Brigid Hannon is a writer from Buffalo, New York. Her poetry has been featured in Ghost City Press Review, Right Hand Pointing, Constellate Magazine, Night Music Journal and Madwomen in the Attic. Her short fiction has been featured at Soft Cartel and Edify Fiction.

Image: “I Am on the Fence,” watercolor on paper, 6 x 4″, April 2018, Kerry Hugins

Kerry Hugins, a stay-at-home mom and lifelong artist, lives on the edge of the Hill Country in Austin. Her childhood was spent in the cities of Miami, Mexico City, Cape Town and Washington, D.C. The color pairings of native wildflowers she and her daughter find on hikes and imprinted on her memory from childhood in Mexico are reflected in her work