The summer of assassinations?
By the man-made lake? A hole
so shallow and muddy, all the men
held hands, formed a human net and
walked toward each other to the center
to feel for some kid who might have
on its shore, in the Kodak, me,
in my little terry cloth bikini,
all round as the moon stomach.
I’d worn a Batman mask attached
by a thin rubber band all summer,
my hands fisted, the nails bit crescents
in my palms.
The summer of my menarche? I stood
against the lazy Susan in the kitchen and
watched the President resign on the small TV:
I cried because of the cramps and blood,
the garter belt biting me. My mother said
we’d never see this again and she was wrong:
even married to my father,
she couldn’t predict the depth
of a man’s rage.
A year after my abortion?
The clinic three stops down
from my dorm, three quick stops
on the Green Line, and no one shot
there yet but escorts needed, one pink
set of rosaries flung at my face.
That year, the year of Ferraro, my aunt said she wouldn’t vote
that menstruated, could get pregnant,
could bear a child.
– Jennifer Martelli, from In the Year of Ferraro, published by Nixes Mate, 2020. Republished with permission of the poet.
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