If you give us no choice,

We will give you no option

- by Alison Seidman

Mr. President,

Allow me to introduce you to
My body
The sanctuary of foreign lands you righteously
Don't mind dropping bombs within
Legally, mind you -
Or so we are taught to learn
There is an unmeasured sex in my body
A growth of estrogen stretching my limbs
From the pop, smack
Of a broken condom on the wounds of my insides

Do you honestly believe that leading a country is easier than understanding the
Body of woman?
How to learn of prevention as means
When you fight each school on sex education
Though it seems to have been the only education I remembered
When the world stopped spinning and my head started

Four years old, riding the subway with my mother
A halo of hippie hair in her eyes and I still saw her breath catch
In her body of a woman
I asked her to read the sign behind the graffiti
The one that made her eyes squint in beautiful rage
The one that intoned to my young ears
Eighty eight percent of pro life organizations are led by men
One hundred percent of them will never become pregnant
I can only now remember thinking the number was so big

My sex education was rolling condoms on cucumbers
I forgot to press the tip
I anticipated the latex cover
I broke the condom-
I impregnated the air and was not sorry

Nature was confused with fate
The same way you confuse fate with choice
I suppose at twelve I believed the air had the choice I did not-
Will not idly wait for
Not humbly in your wishes of a perfect society
We will not fade softly
Our bodies are not going away until you learn they are not yours

Some days I have these really fucked up thoughts
While watching the clothes in my closet
I see past the array to the hangers
And wonder what if?
And pray I never have too

I understand that you could never harm your precious fetus
Mr. President
But you don't have the means to own a womb

Today you vow to make child bearing a law
Parenting an option
Homelessness a vice
Organized religion a virtue
And blue badges a symbol of protection
Protection against human kind
The kind of humans who fit the criteria of being a straight white male

But my baby would have been a gay black woman
My baby would have been an Iraqi civilian
My baby would have been Diallo
Maybe Mumia
My baby would have been an atheist and a socialist
My baby would have been homeless
Or working in third world nations factories
Where I wouldn't have the chance to hold it
Before you made the tiny fingers start working
My baby would be awaiting the electric chair
My baby would be illiterate after twelve years in your school system
My baby would be abused by a business suit
My baby would have AIDS

I was sixteen when Jenny got pregnant
She just said she needed a hand to hold
Through her bloody lip and black eye
I would have removed my hand for her to cradle in her bosom
He told her abortions are not birth control
She had a blank stare
She didn't know what birth control was, really
All she knew was that an alley is not home
And her starving stomach was not proper placement
Nobody wants the dying children in the foster homes
The foster homes full of famine
Mr. President, you would call her choice birth control
Out of ignorant assumptions of your middle class bible studies
Because you lack the self control adamant in her sweet steps
And sweet voice that still hums sweet lullabies
In order to sleep at night

These are not choices
These are hangers sticking up desperation

And I don't know if I would have the strength
To sit in a waiting room in vain
And wait for a nurse to call my number
And squeeze my hands
And make a metaphor out of my decision
But that has to be my choice
Not my law

Mr. President,
If you give us no choice
We will give you no option

Alison Seidman is a student at Ithaca College, studying creative writing. She can be reached at ALIKONA927@aol.com

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