For Thomas

For Thomas

I used to think abortion should be outlawed
because it is unethical, immoral.
“Pro-choice” is simply cheap paint over sick graffiti;
“pro-life,” of course, the only means of preventing murder.
Life begins at conception
(it has a heartbeat)
(it has fingernails)

But now I know

After a late night shift, doubled-over,
After a deluging night in denial (of the unknown yet obvious)
After – finally – gloved hands and glazed eyes
what I had tried to reason away;
immediately relieving the fear that I might find it a relief
(to be free from that unexpected, unaffordable-right-now pink line)

There was no heartbeat
There were no fingernails to see
“Your uterus is empty”
(resonated in me that, maybe, I had imagined it all along)

There was a distant “sorry”
(I forgive you?)
and a prescription to return in two weeks
(no problem, I had a prenatal visit scheduled then anyway)

No answers, no explanations,
“The bleeding should stop by then.”
“We'll verify you're okay by then”
(it was barely even a fetus)

Now I know

Abortion should be outlawed
And not just because
of my standards versus yours
of your rights versus hers

But because
to give you “a choice” takes away mine


So I know this is a touchy subject - but I would greatly appreciate any objective feedback you can offer. I'm still not completely happy with the last two stanzas. And I'd like to know how the overall impression comes across - if you would be honest about it. Thanks :)


  1. I appreciate the blunt writing about such a fragile topic. It doesn't make it seem any less important or upsetting, in fact it makes it more so--being less clouded by the ooshy-gooshy emotions and beating-around-the-bush most writers hide behind when it comes to topics like this. I had to read the last part five times...and i'm still not completely clear. That is not necessarily a problem with your writing (it could just be my brain) but I think you have a very good idea important connection between this event and how it made you (or whoever) see the whole Pro-life/Pro-choice movement in a different light... and the ending could be a real punch in the gut, but it needs some tweaking. Tweak the end...give a little more, and this poem could be better than it already is. I need you to lead me through your thought process more.

  2. Did I mention that I really appreciate this poem? It's very good. I don't think I made that clear in the above comment.

  3. Thanks Rachel. :) Having given it some time, to read it clearer, I do agree with you - the ending isn't clear. It doesn't have enough punch the way it is. I'll be working on this one. Thanks again! Love you