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Monday, October 10, 2005


by Ann Tweedy

the woman who committed a kind of extended suicide
clings to life in a hospice, her feeding tube removed,
after state courts and federal courts
refused to intervene. fifteen years earlier, while the eating disorder
ravaged her, before it stopped her heart
and killed her brain, she might have been savable.

the president who flew home early from his texas ranch
to sign the legislation that gave the federal courts jurisdiction
to review the state court’s life support decision
is the same man whose navy seals and CIA officers beat
an iraqi war prisoner near death with fists and gun muzzles,
then shackled him to the wall,
palestinian style, to die of complications.
Manadal al-Jamadi went from “ghost prisoner”
to ghost in less than an hour, a flexibility
that demonstrates the advantages
of “ghost prisoner” status.

and so a white woman in a self-induced
vegetative state, who didn’t want to be on life support
but whom our government nonetheless
sought to forcibly keep alive, and an arab man,
taken prisoner by our country and immediately
murdered by our soldiers, both take off,
maybe to the same place, to face whatever’s next,
leaving us with our silence.

Ann Tweedy grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. She has been writing poetry ever since she moved to the West Coast in 1996. Over fifty of her poems have been published or are forthcoming in publications such as Clackamas Literary Review, Rattle, Avocet, Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly, Berkeley Poetry Review, and The Awakenings Review. For her day job, she works as a public interest lawyer in rural Washington State.