by Alissa Quart

When we type “abortion”
autofill writes, I am pregnant.
I am pregnant in
Spanish. I am having
a baby and have no
insurance. I’m scared of having
a baby. What trimester am I
What trimester is abortion illegal?
Google says: I need your love.
I need an abortion.
I am pregnant can I eat shrimp?
Am I having a miscarriage?
I need help paying for abortion.
Abortion clinic violence.
Not ready to have this baby.

God will punish, old ones
say in unison. They sing,
“Genocide.” A man
with a Santa beard and a long gun
enters a clinic in Indiana.
In Mississippi, it’s day-glo
signs, floppy hats, tiny
peachy fetus dolls.
Their lawn chairs
too near Women’s Health,
their flesh sunscreen white.
Surveillance cameras as
glass birds.

In a place like this, in America, a long gun.

Women afraid of dying while
they are trying to find their life.

On a normal day, women aged
23, 19, 41, 35.
Work at Kmart, Home Depot,
at daycares, at the hospitals
at night. Today, they learn
a new vocabulary.
Ultrasound, waiting period,
Trailways, TRAP law,
witnesses. They learn
the way euphemisms mostly tell
the truth. That the polite
word is always “discomfort.”

The door clicks when it locks.
Hungry to talk, no words.

She’s got a cold from
her two-year-old.
The doctor talks through
the procedure. The someone
holding her hand, not
her husband.

From a Baptist town, her mother
full of God. So she lied,
got on the bus here. Drove
for three hours, borrowed
money for the hooker
motel, then the overnight
waiting period. Wondered whether
God cared or was it the care
her mother managed.
One girl was a sturdy teenager,
tall enough to play center.
Signed the parental notification
with a broken ballpoint.
Another, redheaded, the hottest
number at the Bingo Hall in
Shreveport. Grandma drank.
“What about your boyfriend?”
She answers, ”He stopped
talking to me. All he wanted

was the baby.”
With her own body, hurtling.

One boss wouldn’t let
the woman sell car parts
if she was pregnant.
One minister called
the clinic “baby parts.”

One was doing this for
the other baby.
The soldier said she was
doing this so I can fight
for this country.

The ATM spits $500.
She slid inside the office
building, paid money to
a counter lady, was led into
a paneled private
room, Reagan-era
red, with fake curtains,
a bad stage set.
Silk fishtail fern,
mustard satin bedspread.
She was put to sleep
woke up to saltines,
other posh sleepy women
in gowns, a cultic circle.
Her friend called it
“The Anaconda.”
Always the code
words and then the surprise

Bed rest with the mysteries. Old blood.
A mandala of succor and suffering.

Dark blood could mean anything.

It gets sloppy when you are trying to find love.

A glass of water, a small
pill. Hard candy, saltines
afterwards. Silk

flower in your hair.

Poems about abortion,
poems about abortion and feelings
of sorrow. Google says: shame or guilt;
Remorse is Forever: Abortion Poem
Post Abortion Stress Syndrome
Poems about abortion from
a baby’s point of view

Say: No shame.
We can say: The
birth spectrum.

Choices are always field work,
freedom song, elegy,
captivity narrative.

This feeling won’t forget them;
won’t forget you.