An Abortion Ban

is a body snatcher,
is an ethnic cleansing.

The uterus is a cave,
is an incubator, is a vault,

is a self-destructing bomb,
is a thoroughfare.

Semen is an innocent bystander.
Penises are just boys being.

A woman is a vestibule.

A judge is a strict father,
is Joseph awed by his father’s creation,

is Joseph relieved of fault,
is Joseph saving face.

A woman is a support beam.
A girl is a receptacle.

A fetus without lungs is an unlucky horseshoe.
A fetus in a homeless woman is an empty pillowcase.

An embryo is a fingernail.
A fetus is a jail.

A woman who miscarries is a quarterback—
executed. Point blank.

A woman with a felony is insulation.
An angry man with a staircase is a felony-maker.

A livebirth with a dead mother is a school lunch.
A stillbirth is a twenty-thousand-dollar bill.

A pregnant black woman is a dead black woman.
A black woman who miscarries is a dead crow.

A state legislature is a vulture.
A choice is a liability.

A Planned Parenthood is a desert.
A Planned Parenthood is an oasis.

A woman is a treasure chest.
A woman is a former voter.

A uterus is a leash.
A stillbirth is a tether.

A thirteen-year-old is a child. Only that.
A woman is a bloom.

A seed is an explosive.
Fertilizer is a shackle.

A woman is a target
A uterus is a target.
A felon is a target.



The Field of Blood

In the hospital, the man I love lowers
his eyes. Catheter. Cotton.
I join his mother for a walk.

If I were your mother,
I’d tell you not to marry him.
My own mother says

I can’t stay with a sick man.
You want to fix everything.
Why should we leave good things broken?


On some night, my love says
I wouldn’t want to be black. I—
I try to understand how he could

call blackness the burden,
not the whiteness heaped on top of it.
Blackness is not a failure

of the body. I bleed daily
for a month,
produce a liver-shaped thing.
He rinses his blood
with a chemical cocktail
every third Thursday.
We make nothing—no child
no pacts—but distance,
until we both lose.


On some day, in our home,
my love says our child
would not be black.

But we’re American,
I think, and say
she would.


He thinks we understand each
other because of his illness
and my blackness,

but my blackness
does not make me sick.
Love has betrayed my heart.


I’m sure Judas loved Jesus, but fear is a tyrant.
In this story, you’re Judas and I’m Judas too.

A cynic would say he just loved money more.
But what would they say to the field of blood?

I loved my man and our cats but the girl in my chest
will always chase the storm in the field, abandon

the ghost in the house, leave the blood and water
running in the bathtub and hair on the floor, walk

into the warm spring night in a blackout, follow the moon
down the sidewalk—eyes glinting like the backyard cougars

of my youth—and leave you with your bare heart
and your mended bones waiting for me

to come back. A version of me will leave and let the felines
starve, because the beast in me does not want to be needed.

A cat’s cry mimics an infant’s cry.
I like to think I could deny even this.