The moral imperative

dont tread on me alabamaDon’t look away because you’ve already made up your mind

hang loose / stay nimble Kingfisher / remain open

this isn’t a soap box and I’m not ranting

this is a page among many pages and a thought among many thoughts

I hope you read it and T.H.I.N.K.

This is for the person who thinks women and girls shouldn’t have a choice

did I lose you with that last line? What happened to the certainty of your convictions?

If you are ready to condemn a rape or incest survivor to bearing their rapists child

and possibly having that rapist fight for custody/visitation and be awarded it

then consider how you might want to give me the time of day

before closing yourself off back to your old way of thinking

after all … I’ve changed my views many times based on EVOLVING

we don’t stay the same, we shouldn’t stay the same

life is not a vortex

so here goes …

What makes you believe a girl of 15 who is raped by her step father should

bear his child?

Because I hear you say on the radio; “The child is not to blame so we should not punish them by murdering them”

and the certainty in your voice

astonishes me

as I think of what it will feel like to be

raped at 15 by your step father, bear his child at 16 and then tell the child at 13 when she is old enough to know, who her father is

watch her face crumple

should that child never exist? She may go on to do great things that is true

But we are putting the rights and the acts of predators before the rights of that 16 year old

We are raping them again

We are telling them you may be an individual but you have NO right over your body

you were raped and now you are going to be given this life sentence

and your child will be too

and yes, that child may grow up to be something amazing

but sometimes we don’t need to know every eventuality

we just need to know what is wrong and what is right

and it is wrong to make a child bear a rapists child if they do not want to

just as it is wrong to give that rapist any rights over that child’s life

there is really … no punishment great enough for rapists and molestors

but we are going soft and we spend far more of our time

trying to undermine the rights of women and girls

and I have decided (call me paranoid if you wish) this is

a conspiracy against women and girls

and before you say “oh but other women think so too, it’s not just men!”

I will nod and agree, because I have seen and heard those other women

in fact one is my neighbor and she said; “I don’t understand why a person has to have an abortion they are just lazy because they did not use birth control”

and I wondered because she is a lovely person and quite bright

HOW she could think this and WHERE that judgment came from

but despite this, despite other women damming other women as they have always done

it is the masculine need to control women that is at the crux of this debate

it is the male led world (still) that tries to close its fist around women’s private parts

and tell her what she can do with her own body

and it is the misinterpretation of what we perceive God to want and dictate

that leads us to condemn, insult, hate, shame, loathe, obliterate

the rights of other women to do what THEY NEED TO DO

and sometimes what they need to do is

have an abortion

and it’s not only in the cases of girls who have been raped by their step fathers

but mothers and wives and adults and middle aged women

who for a variety of reasons have decided

as human beings they have the right to decide what to do with their own body

and if there were a war and there were two sides

and someone said to me; will you fight for our side

despite being a pacifist I would

because I have worked with the women and girls who have come to me and said

my parents did not let me have an abortion when I was raped by my uncle

I had to bear this child and that child grew up knowing I hated it

though I tried not to

and I was condemned again for hating the product of my rape

although I could not stop myself

too much of the burden is upon the women

and I do not think those grey haired men who sit in judgement

would wish to adopt my child of rape or your child of rape

I do not think they would wish to have a child of color

or a feminist or a lesbian as their child

I think they want to turn the clock back to when

women did not speak out or wish to assume any control

of themselves or their daughters

and yet

what they do not understand is

before their time

women were in control of themselves and their daughters

and they flourished

until they were defeated

but as with any battle

there can again be

a revolution

and I suspect the time is coming

when women will once more (they should not have to)

rise up they should not have to)

and say (they should not have to)

to their daughters and their sons (they should not have to)

this is not okay and I am not going to lie down and take it

and when that day comes

I will be part of that battle

and would die defending

the right of women and girls to do what they want with their own bodies

and those who will come at me with

what about the babies rights?

what about the rights of the unborn?

what about how murder is wrong?

will hear me reply

what about your cruelty? Enforcing laws

draconian and otherwise upon the bodies and souls

of women and girls

all because it comforts you to judge

others

rather than yourselves

and who is saying anything about

the men who get women and girls pregnant

and how often they do not want

to be saddled with a child

and this is my last thought on the matter;

What would men do if they were the ones who were

raped and abused and what would they do if they

could become pregnant and had to carry a child

and were told by women

oh you should carry this product of rape to term

and give it up for adoption because it is selfish of you to abort and it is murder

when there are so many childless couples who would be so glad of your

birthing factory abilities, sorry, I mean, unwanted child

what would men say if they were told

I am sorry you were forced to have sex and got pregnant

but you cannot have an abortion

be mindful of the sanctity of life in this overcrowded world

and shut your legs in future

the undertone, it is all in the undertone

and I say

if men were to wake up to that?

there would be abortion clinics on every corner like Starbucks

and that more than anything else tells you what you need to know

if you are still listening

and not assuming you know

what women should do with their bodies

because you possess

the moral imperative

 

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Uninterrupted innocence

Kids Jumping into Lake ChippewaPigeon-chested children with streaming noses

dive weightless into still water

breaking circles into smaller circles, rebounding against

sunlight

their laughter feels like a cold hand around my neck

as I imagine their futures

the girl with the black hair, she’ll be raped by her uncle

her mother will tell her, she is a dirty little liar

she will start taking pills at ten and graduate to heroin

when the school counselor asks her, where it all went wrong

she will think of the sunlight through trees

elm, willow, plain oak and cypress

the sound of her unmolested body, falling into water

as if baptized in reverse

the turn of her mother’s neck, in denial

her thick coral lips, mouthing betrayal

my brother would not do that

her own diminishing and the feeling

of wet, cold, bathing suit

sticking

cloying

admonishing

and she will not know, how to verbalize

that separation of self or why

it seemed permissible to sell her body for drugs

let men cut her up, into shards of her former wholeness

like fast food tastes bad

once it has been opened

she does not know, how it stopped mattering

if she protected, those broken walls within her

they were already torn down

that’s what she’d say, if she hadn’t

consumed her tongue and turned it hard

like a cliffs edge seems strong but crumbles

and the counselor, sighs and shakes her head

going home, only to wonder what more

she could do, to reach lost children

and the black-haired girl, gets her fix and slips

once more beneath glassy-eyed waves

this time, she can see herself

her blanched face, her loose fingers empty

letting go of all pain and slipping

like worry beads

deeper and deeper

and if I could, I would

walk backward in time

pluck her drenched and empty

fill her with sunlight and sound

reverberating like a crack in the world

opens and reveals a new passageway

she would come with me into the forest

her younger self remaining

jumping from the jetty with her friends

caught in elasticized moments

too free to escape the laughter

of uninterrupted innocence