Rumor (Calgary, circa 1985)

there is a word you don’t want to say                             abortion

over the holiday song they can’t hear your little confession. they being your mother and his, both dolled 

up in sweaters,

upstanding and blaming each other.

you want to say take me to a river and I’ll die,

take what is inside me and let it be me, let me be gone and it

here, breathing in the back seat.

 

not that you want it: you don’t want anything anymore, except a blunt or a blade

or a bit of blood              or to do it all differently.

 

okay, you want lots of things. the usual things people want: a garden of roses, 

a bit of meat to pulverize, an enemy, a friend, a sky so clear you can see stars—

 

nonetheless, you want to die. after all, women have a right to choose, so why not choose the 

radial artery

spraying like a fire hose. you can giggle. you are allowed to giggle. you are a child

you would deny that if anyone asked 

but there’s no other way to be at seventeen, 

unless you’re dead, wrapped around a tree 

like happened to Melissa Reddings last summer. 

 

what would Melissa say, you wonder.

 

nothing, of course. you were never friends. 

you didn’t know, then, about impermanence, 

about an empty seat in a classroom. 

about how laughter sticks in your throat like a clump of chicken.

 

(in a small town, you’ve seen enough dead 

chickens with their heads cut off. they used to be funny. 

 

they probably still are.)

okay well now you’ve said it, now there it is, whispered 

to the white expansive fields beside the highway on this long, quiet drive

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Grace is a half-Canadian, half-American, fully unhinged writer living in the Bronx, NY, and working in publishing. Originally from Arizona, she stands by the fact that nowhere has better sunsets and scorpions are kinda cute, actually. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2021 after being awarded honors on her thesis in poetry. Her work has been published in ASU's Canyon Voices Literary Magazine and Helicon Literary Magazine. She blogs at https://gracekatherinewrites.com/.