Good Friday at the Abortion Clinic

I wrote this poem around 1990, when I was in graduate school at The University of Michigan and a member of the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights. I am proud that while engaged in activism, I also valued dialogue with the other side. Bonus: picture of me looking ridiculously young.


I dig my knee hard into her back, planting
my palm against the clinic wall. She squeezes
little beads on a string, a rosary, and trembles.
I have not seen her face. For two hours
she has been the back and buttocks sitting
on my feet, pushing me into the wall.

I want to feel sorry for her, bird-thin thing,
to say, “Get off my feet and I will move my knee,
stand and face me, tell me why you’re here,
why your friends have blocked the clinic door.”
But she joins in hymns and I shout slogans.
Sometimes her people raise a chant, “Jesus, Jesus!”
rolling into the sky. I don’t hear any answer.

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