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Original artwork by Emma Yamamoto

Upon the Disclosure of an Old Secret

Elsa Valmidiano
Our Bodies, Our Rights: Special Issue • Poetry

The news spread like wildfire tonight

that I had an abortion at twenty

and now, am I on trial?


Strangers comment with their virtual pitchforks:

“You murderer.

You mutilated your body beyond repair!”


I cannot fight all battles,

especially not of blood lines

connecting me to generations

of shame.


No comment.


Picketers outside clinics

never respect the reason


—they who decided the size

of a pomegranate seed

is the supreme being


—they who think we dispose of

our babies at the drop of a hat

when we learn unexpected complications.


Brokenness is their usual expectation

when the façade of a perfect woman existed

in a ten-year secret.


Now with the news all over the internet

you want to put me away

and call me a cursed woman. 


Can you now see why

I never told you?


I am still me

but you refuse to listen.


You hate the power I have

in disclosing this little secret

that finally released me

when it was revealed.