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Sunday, May 12, 2019


by Allison Blevins

In 1973, Ms. magazine published a haunting photo of a woman named Gerri Santoro, who'd died of a back-alley abortion. At the time, no one could have predicted what an impact it would have on the pro-choice movement. —Vice, October 26, 2016

After “Police Photo, Norwich Connecticut, 1964”

I want us all to imagine her dead body rising, jerking
and mechanical, the lurch and halt and sputter of a carnival ride,
how The Whip and Wipeout and Scrambler
move, attempt to start over—put themselves back together
only to be taken, pulled to pieces once again.  I want us to feel
her suffering.  Not how it felt in her
body.  That is unimaginable.  That should remain unspoken.  Let us live
in the suffering of the body clambering back
to feet, body heaving up—empty now.  Let the body be ready to fight.
I want that body like Judith—searching for heads
of men who’d bring all of us
naked to our knees, who’d photograph us
prone and paling from the slow drain.  Let us imagine
all the bodies wandering forward—swords in hand.

Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women's Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod International Journal, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly. She is the author of the chapbooks Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019) and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), part of the Robin Becker Series. Her chapbook Susurration (Blue Lyra Press) is forthcoming.  She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series and is Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review.