abortion 101

By doll on the rag

it's a clear day out

things are blue
and relatively warm

you walk
the six-and-a-half blocks
to your destination:

a squat, nondescript building
without a sign
and a fading address

an old woman smiles at you
as you pass on the sidewalk

you're a pretty girl, after all

you take the steps
two at a time
even though there's only four

the doorknob is cool to the touch

inside, the receptionist
is nonchalant about taking your name

you squirm on a vinyl-covered sofa
beside two other women who look
as relaxed as your breathing is not

they disappear
one after the other
through a pastel-blue door

led by their unfamiliar names
and a dishwater blonde,
a clipboard in her left hand
and white teeth
in a mouth that does not smile

your name is called
and it, too, is unfamiliar

beyond the door
lies a sea of curtains
and swishing lab coats

you're ushered away
disrobed and redressed
with the practised efficiency
of the blonde clipboard woman

she doesn't smile

"the Doctor will be in shortly."

here, she smiles
and it's smeared with sadness

you're a pretty girl, after all

everything is septic-white
and stinks of disinfectant

a stack of pamphlets on the table
offers up comforting words
and cheerfully approves your decision

you stare at a slogan
"It's Your Choice!"
until the room fades to black
and your eyes sting

and soon, the Doctor comes
two mother/matron nurses as reinforcements
in case you've changed your mind

they poke you,
prodding you into place
and trying to create the illusion
you're perfectly okay

if you were braver
the boy would be here

the fact he's no longer your boy
is irrelevant

but you're not brave
you're a child
and the nurse-mothers fuss over you

they hold your hands
smooth your hair
and tell you

you're doing fine
everything will be better tomorrow

you're a pretty girl, after all

the Doctor is more discerning
with dispersing sympathies
and instead makes inane smalltalk

you don't hear a word--
your eyes are closed too tight

for the briefest eternity
there is a coldness that seeps
into the pit of your belly

you suck in air
and forget to breathe

you wait

when you open your eyes again
you're already dressed
and nodding mechanically
as the Doctor rattles off directions

you don't know what time it is
but you find the receptionist all the same

she gives you a plastic bag
full of papers and important-looking
pieces of nothing

you smile in thanks
and it hurts

by the door sits a tiny thing
barely woman enough to have breasts

she catches your eye and recoils
a distance noticeable only to you
before dropping her head in her hands
and weeping

you open the door
and escape from her moment of realization

as you step off the bottom stair
a hundred eyes are upon you
smouldering with


they follow you the whole walk home,
an acrid, burning trail hanging in the air

outside the sky is dark
as if mother nature knows
and is plotting revenge

the wind slices across your cheek
like a clean, cold blade

but you press on and on
biting your lip
and clutching your little bag
of plastic sincerities

the sidewalk public parts for you
and your confident strides

a boy calls out something as you pass

you're a pretty girl, after all

the key to your apartment
clicks sharply in your ears

you slip unnoticed
among the inanimate trappings
of your life:

empty chairs
at an empty table

you crawl into your empty bed
and stare up at the ceiling
for thirteen hours

sleep, too,
resents you now
and will not pay a visit

in the bathroom
you clutch the toilet
and heave

nauseated by the knowledge
that morning sickness will never come

you drift aimlessly
down your hollow hallway
turning from the mirrors as you pass

but the mirrors advance
and confront you with sharp corners

their refusal to lie claws at you

so you tear them from the walls
and shatter them,
seven total

sitting amongst the fragments
you finger one of those
god-damned pamphlets

you try to believe
the reassuring paragraphs
the guiltless font
the smiling face inside

you don't cry

you're a pretty girl, after all

Unauthorized Copying Is Prohibited. Ask the author first.
Copyright 2005 doll on the rag
Published on Saturday, October 1, 2005.     Filed under: "Poetry"
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Comments on "abortion 101"

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  • A former member wrote: WOW. That was great. Been a party to that 3 times and it was tough reading that from a woman's standpoint

  • A former member wrote: I read the title and thought "this is sure to be interesting". Interesting doesn't do it justice. Like so many before me have stated: it made me want to cry. Despite never having had to go through this myself, your words transported me within that world and made me feel.

  • A former member wrote: this gave me chills. I almost cried.

  • A former member wrote: so sad to know this kind of events are very common.... great write keep going!

  • A former member wrote: such a powerful story this is, you can almost taste the pain of it i only hope that this is written from imagination and not from expirience

  • Scarrzz On Friday, July 18, 2008, Scarrzz (238)By person wrote:

    This left me shaking. . . Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal part of yourself, and in such a powerful way. I accompanied a friend into one of those chambers once. I wish this pain on no one. Scholar

  • A former member wrote: whoa. Scholar

  • Savannah On Wednesday, May 14, 2008, Savannah (218)By person wrote:

    F'n WOW I wanna cry. You gave me chills

  • colorapathy On Monday, May 12, 2008, colorapathy (50)By person wrote:

    i know i've commented on this before... but everytime i read it.. it just hits me like a wall.

  • thelostmessenger On Wednesday, May 7, 2008, thelostmessenger (112)By person wrote:

    wow. this, it made me feel as if it was being told about me. what great words you choose. the feeling you created inside of me... was... unexplainable.

  • Saschwann On Thursday, May 1, 2008, Saschwann (13)By person wrote:

    At first I couldn't even find words but I wanted to comment so badly. I am astonished at the talent that this work imbodies. The emotion that it brought me too is outstanding. Wow.

  • Saschwann On Thursday, May 1, 2008, Saschwann (13)By person wrote:


  • A former member wrote: thank you for writing this..because I never could.

  • Army Barbie On Sunday, April 27, 2008, Army Barbie (324)By person wrote:

    It's like falling into the face of someone's memories...and they don't even realize you're standing beside them watching replay. Chilling, nausiating. Some of the most painful subjects can produce the most vivid works.

  • colorapathy On Monday, April 7, 2008, colorapathy (50)By person wrote:

    I can't really say exactly how I feel about this, only that it is masterfully written... thank you for posting.

  • Mars On Friday, April 4, 2008, Mars (327)By person wrote:

    this touched. i cried. -mars Scholar

  • Niemand On Friday, March 28, 2008, Niemand (362)By person wrote:

    This made me feel like mercury collected in the pit of my stomach, and brought me to tears. As guilt is once again eating away my conscience, I have to say, I really felt this.

  • serotonin lost On Monday, March 17, 2008, serotonin lost (144)By person wrote:

    i wonder how many people read this and cried but are to terrified to post a comment in fear of people knowing there choice? well written well felt. i'm a boy so have little basis to compare but this still touched me.

  • A former member wrote: This didn't just touch my heart... I touched my soul. You are very talented. I've never been able to sort my emotions from my experience. But after reading this-- I have a place to start.

  • Loserland On Friday, December 30, 2005, Loserland (113)By person wrote:

    fuck......fuck!.......fuck......them there's summ powerful words when arranged like so...mickey likes it!

  • BeautifulCalamity On Monday, December 19, 2005, BeautifulCalamity (428)By person wrote:

    this is stand-back admire, love the intricate details and the bigger picture kind of poetry. the kind that makes legends. lovely and emotive piece.

  • Lynaes On Sunday, October 2, 2005, Lynaes (859)By person wrote:

    Sometimes you read a piece of literature, and you just know it's a huge achievement created by someone greatly talented.. this is one them. I commend you for the vividness, for the realism, the uncensored raw emotion.. This is truly brilliant. Perfection.

  • The_Lady_in_the_Fire On Saturday, October 1, 2005, The_Lady_in_the_Fire (21)By person wrote:

    I have to agree with Ani ( V ), this was a couragous write. I dont know what else to say. *Torah*

  • A former member wrote: i logged in just so i could comment on this. you had a firm grip on my attention all the way untill the very end. this was amazing and heart-wrenching. i can't say enough about how this touched me. great, great job. ....-samone

  • AniDayz On Saturday, October 1, 2005, AniDayz (820)By person wrote:

    chillingly courageous piece...most emotive,most sincere...hearthrobbingly portrayed. this embraces all...im completely thrown aback in respect.awed to the pit of my stomach..hit in the heart. i commend this.you. --

  • A former member wrote: this was so well written, it had my undevided attention. really sad, made me teary eyed

  • A former member wrote: that was amazing... thats all i have to say about that. there are no other words.

  • the dried flower On Saturday, October 1, 2005, the dried flower (67)By person wrote:

    wow, there really isn't much for me to say but i'm sry that you once felt this way(or still do taday) your a good poem writer because your writings seem to come from exsperiences you have had.

  • A former member wrote: ..this made me feel ugly, very ugly. ..and that's putting it simply. This needed to be written. I'll thank you for those who couldn't write it themselves.

  • Err0r On Saturday, October 1, 2005, Err0r (365)By person wrote:

    That just gave me chills. Great write.

  • Six-Out On Saturday, October 1, 2005, Six-Out (1437)By person wrote:

    I have goosebumps. I know a girl who had one...and went through this exact thing. You write with conviction, dear. And it's ever so marvelously horrid.

  • xDeAthxPerCepTioNxReaLiTyx On Saturday, October 1, 2005, xDeAthxPerCepTioNxReaLiTyx (36)By person wrote:

    This was absolutely brilliant. I love your writing style and how it flows. The descriptions is what got me to get into it; to see what you was happening. My emotions were totally into this one. And no you probably don't deserve any shit from anyone...

  • xDeAthxPerCepTioNxReaLiTyx On Saturday, October 1, 2005, xDeAthxPerCepTioNxReaLiTyx (36)By person wrote:

    It's your decision, not anyone elses. Tell them to fuck off. ~Hannah

  • SilentStalker On Saturday, October 1, 2005, SilentStalker (1067)By person wrote:

    ...actually, I just sense realism from this, and I'm sure that even when a woman has no other choice but to go through with one of these, that tinge of guilt and/or sadness is still present... Scholar

  • elisa On Saturday, October 1, 2005, elisa (1617)By person wrote:

    'tinge'....i have never read such an understatement...a very sterile word for such a subject...hmm

  • SilentStalker On Saturday, October 1, 2005, SilentStalker (1067)By person wrote:

    ...what would be truly sad would be if thoughts like this never occurred to someone--if they never weighed the different possibilities, or cared that there was ever more than one choice... Scholar

  • doll on the rag On Saturday, October 1, 2005, doll on the rag (200)By person wrote:

    i have the feeling i am going to catch a lot of shit for this one, because i've written about something very personal for a lot of people. so please, feel free to rip on me. i probably deserve it.

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