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4: Rachel Mennies

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

February 26, 2017

by Rachel Mennies

Naomi, I woke this morning thinking about my friend Name, who lives in
……..South Dakota.

How she told me weeks later, when I asked her why didn’t you come to see
……, why didn’t you tell me, I would have come with you that she picked
……..the closest clinic she could find, even if it meant going alone.

I think of those hours Name drove by herself in the dark.

Name awake in the nearest motel during the waiting period—flicking
……..through the channels, watching the network fuzz.

I think of the abortion I watched on a Netflix drama last night:
nineteenth-century London, the nurse warming a thin hooked wire
between her hands.

How the other nurse, in lieu of anesthesia, whispered God forgives all to the
……..woman screaming in the bed.

I think of my mother’s stories from the clinic where she worked in
……..Wilmington, the man whose spit she rinsed from her black hair before
……..her shift.

How the guards walked her to her car once each day ended.

On each flight I take, there is a moment before the plane leaves the gate
……..where I think this is your last chance to disembark.

You are still in the city in which your body awoke.

Do you wish to stay, Rachel? Do you wish to leave?

This morning I remembered the plane had departed without us, Naomi.

We will awake again, tomorrow, in America..

Copyright © 2021 by Rachel Mennies. This poem was originally published in her book, THE NAOMI LETTERS (BOA Editions, 2021).

About the Author

rachel menniesRachel Mennies is the author, most recently, of THE NAOMI LETTERS (BOA Editions, 2021). Her poetry has appeared, or will soon, at Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Believer, and elsewhere. An editor for AGNI, she lives in Chicago.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day: Lineage Edition

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is the AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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