In light of the United State’s Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, I invite you to revisit Candice Louisa Daquin’s powerful poem “The Abortionist’s Chair”. Candice is our 2022 ROAR winner; go read the rest of her work and her inspiring Q&A here.
Renwick Berchild, GLJ Editor
The Abortionist's Chair Candice Louisa Daquin, Poem Behold the abortionist's chair not leather, for leather is thirsty this chair is wreathed in glossy rubber that can be wiped down and disinfected to mute the smell of blood this chair does not owe its shape to comfort, nor seeks it nay, the very contour is built upon a premise bringing life should not be a sentence women are not incubators nor second-class citizens who have no right to their own crown of thorns that is choice these women and girls climb into the chair tearfully the tears are not because they are forced to leave behind a piece of them but the slow sorrow of particular relief regret that contraception failed regret that he left her destitute regret this is her 6th pregnancy and she is unwell regret life is hard and she cannot, she cannot bring a child into the world relief that she has a choice. Before entering the clinic, they watch from their car swells of protesters with plastic babies attached to placards chant and throng hate and intolerance thinking how little has changed in 400 years how if nobody was watching that crowd would fall upon the girl, the woman and have her bloody guts for garters if they could get away with it a murder of crows, the sycophant irony they are trying to save just as they fantasize about killing. These women trapped in their cars stare at colorless clouds a chain of ants climbs along cement walkway easily crushed, invisible to us, these women feel a simpatico; the worth of life, of value, of other’s moral high-ground as those who believe themselves untouchable, eat with their heavy knife and fork bleeding steak at lunchtime pontification lashing the sin of woman, swallowing globs of meat without thought of the dumb beast who trawled to the slaughter yard in a cart of wide-eyed animals who knew they were going to die facing it without words. The chair has seen the doctor wiping her brow as she gives freedom of choice back to women whose womb holds the viability of that life, not politicians whose legs pucker with the cold of heavy instruments and they say she chose this as a form of contraception? They say she is evil and has no compassion? They who would have her led like muted cow to slaughter speaking on her behalf, feigning they speak for her murdered child painting easy shame to denigrate her dignity as life bearer which necessarily includes a symbiotic understanding it’s never that simple and you can’t speak for me! How society thinks they own bodies but won’t pay maternity leave believing a coat-hanger legacy unworthy no reason to grant real lasting equality as her body roils with morning sickness as she knows she cannot bring a child into this world this world of carnivores eating steak at lunchtime gazing at the fine legs of a slender waisted woman walking from the bar and back to bring them a drink the very same men and women who pervert justice calling a girl, a whore if she drank before she was raped a child ‘gagging for it’ if she wore a short skirt asking; are you sure you didn’t lead him on? Thinking a prostitute unworthy of consideration rape a corrective necessity for lesbians. These things are not footnotes in history they happen every day a world that still doesn’t grant equality for women thinking it preferable to spray paint clinics, shut them down, starve them of resources shoot their staff, shame those women who knew they couldn’t bring a child into the world didn’t want to be an incubator for an adoption agency who profits adopting out babies of young mothers whom they have guilted into remaining pregnant because any abortion is a sin, don’t you know you will go to Hell? But isn’t Hell a place where you are a second-class-citizen? Your rights eroded; your body controlled by all means choose, keep a baby, or not but to have no say in what happens in your womb? Hell is shame placed on your every action — trapped, trapped, trapped yes, I would say that is hell a world where clinics are closed and protesters have nowhere to hate anymore so, they come up with something else (because they will) it’s not even about sparing little defenseless babies if that were true, they’d give a damn about all those unwanted kids of color in foster care it’s hate of convenience, a conviction of superiority, a penchant for judgement extended through the laws of patriarchy and beyond twisting religion and doctrine to your will, as if you speak for Gods controlling what others do with their bodies, like you are one even in cases of rape and incest because; it’s not the innocent child’s fault, meting out the sentence let’s ask ourselves then, whose fault is it? A society where rape isn’t taken seriously or punished? Or people who think a survivor’s rights are worthless? The abortionist’s chair is gathering dust and some people cheer this as they bite into their $50 dollar steak and pieces of a life far more sentient when it was ended get stuck like slivers of placenta in their righteous clenched teeth. Who then, we ask is the greater criminal? The woman who seeks choice or the hypocrite who denies her the solace of saying what her own body will bear?
Candice Louisa Daquin is of Sephardi French/Egyptian descent. Born in Europe, Daquin worked in publishing before immigrating to America to become a Psychotherapist, where she has continued writing and editing whilst practicing as a therapist. Daquin is Senior Editor at Indie Blu(e) Publishing, a feminist micro-press. She freelances as Writer-in-Residence for Borderless Journal and Poetry & Art Editor for The Pine Cone Review. Her latest personal book of poetry is Tainted by the Same Counterfeit (Finishing Line Press, 2022). Find more of her work at http://www.thefeatheredsleep.com