Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Monday, September 21, 2020


by Martha Deed

for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's spring 1973 and the trees are budding
on 111th Street along the south edge of Columbia
and I, ripening also, am walking home
from the obstetrician's office at St Luke's
The walk is weekly now
Pass by a smiling female undergraduate
She waves and says
"Next time you will have a choice."
She does not know
This time I did have a choice
though others haven't
and while pregnant
I met with women at the clinic
(We negotiated my obvious condition delicately)
as I sent them to Puerto Rico or elsewhere
our male director having said
Psychotherapy is not the answer
for women who've been raped
or secretly abused
and so we linked with doctors*
who had licenses and safe offices
Five women
We looked at each other
We saw each other
We understood that what is good for one
could be catastrophic for the other
We understood that freedom does not include
dictating what should happen to someone else's body
but only what should happen to our own 

*Our clinic utilized Clergy Consultation Service.

Martha Deed, PhD has published two poetry collections (Under the Rock, 2019 and Climate Change, 2014, both with FootHills Publishing) 5 other full-length books, a half dozen chapbooks since her retirement as a Psychologist, dozens of poetry publications.  Her work is frequently anthologized. She received a Pushcart Nomination from The New Verse News in 2011. Lives on the Erie Canal in WNY.