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Tuesday, February 25, 2020


by Jennifer Martelli

                        The Catholic Church is [not] monolithic in its teachings on abortion. 
 Geraldine Ferraro, 1984

Is a man a monolith?
Can you decorate a monolith with sprigs of nutmeg, rue,
            pennyroyal, a garden of abortifacients?
Can you grow savin, squills, ergot of rye around the monolith?
Can you dig down far enough so the roots will embed?

Can I rule as a monolith?
Can I rule as a woman who’s had not one but two,
two abortions? And still is not sad?
Can I rule as a woman who is not sad at all?

Can we drape the monolith with pearls, chunky fake gems?
Can we polish its flat dark marble surface until it shines
like the tombstones in the Italian cemetery? Will you circle the monolith?
Will you join hands with me and dance and dance and dance?

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. Her chapbook After Bird was the winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, and POETRY. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-curates the Italian-American Writers Series.