Tell them it's always under attack. Tell them there's no cure
for the disease, or answer to the riddle. Tell them you asked many
before you, some who won, some who lost.
You consulted Assata, Roe vs. Wade, Harriet and Jocelyn Elders
to no avail. Her words on contraception twisted into a bitter pretzel.
The bits broken off, used to destroy her.
Tell them its always under attack, its predators everywhere. They lurk
behind Mississippi clinics or around Georgetown blocks dressed
in blue uniform. Tell them you have the cure, somewhere at home,
deep in your cabinets, mixed in a mason jar, Don't tell them
it consists of breast milk, dreams, butterflies, civil rights marches,
burned bras, a piece of Madame CJ Walker's hair, prayers,
Ameila Earhart's drive, hot-water cornbread, and Sally Ride's fearlessness.
Lie to them, tell them it's rosemary oil, then bottle it. Sell it
to every woman in America who will drink it. Then watch all
the piranhas disappear.
Used by permission.
Poet and journalist Celeste Doaks received a 2012 Lucille Clifton Scholarship to attend Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Her journalism has appeared in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York and many other publications. Her most recent poetry is forthcoming in Tidal Basin Review and Bayou Magazine. Doaks received her MFA from North Carolina State University, and currently teaches creative writing at Morgan State University. You can follow her at @thedoaksgirl on Twitter.
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