Before It Was Legal
Under a sky like curdled milk in a blue bowl
my childless friend of forty years confesses to a 1958 abortion.
One hundred, to an elderly Haitian woman who laid her
hips on a rough, grayed towel, spread her knees apart
to stuff a narrow rubber hose cut from an enema bag
and stiffened with a copper strip up into her womb,
packed the cavity with wads of cotton, all tied together
by a string like a tampon. “Tomorrow, pull the string
and everything will come out.” Three bright drops of blood
on the towel, the color of induced labor hours later.
The wall of her womb pierced. Peritonitis. Penicillin.
Police. But she was free of that unwanted child
or any child she could never have now. Her nipples oozed
droplets of sour milk, staining her bras for weeks after.
About the Author
Sarah Brown Weitzman, a past National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and Pushcart Prize nominee, has been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including Rosebud, New Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, North American Review, Bellingham Review, Rattle, Mid-American Review, The MacGuffin, Poet Lore, Spillway, and Miramar. A departure from poetry, her fourth book, Herman and the Ice Witch, is a children’s novel published by Main Street Rag.