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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

SEPTEMBER 12, 2021

by Michelle DeRose

A woman who asked not to be identified out of privacy concerns told The Daily Beast that after she and Walker conceived a child while they were dating in 2009 he urged her to get an abortion. The woman said she had the procedure and that Walker reimbursed her for it. She supported these claims with a $575 receipt from the abortion clinic, a “get well” card from Walker, and a bank deposit receipt that included an image of a signed $700 personal check from Walker… According to the $575 receipt, the abortion took place on Sept. 12, 2009.  —Daily Beast, October 4, 2022

Dear Herschel,

I slide the dusty box
from its closet shelf
every September,
how I recover
yet. Inside the card,
proof you once prayed
for me, knew
I felt something–
the card grainy
between my fingers,
your hands dry
against my lower back.

All my Septembers
captured in the loops
of your signature H:
the tail of the g
in my feeling
contracted in the narrow belly
of your upper loop,
while the lower pools
wide, like a puddle of blood.

Author’s Note: The election returns that sent Walker and Warnock to a run-off in Georgia leave me still wondering about the woman behind this story, what compelled her to save that card all these years, and note with sadness that it seems all involved in telling or receiving this story see her not as a human at all but as a pawn, a part of someone else's bigger story. So I imagined what she might have written before state and national politics entered her story.

Michelle DeRose teaches creative writing and African American, Irish, and world literature at Aquinas College, where she also coordinates the Irish Studies minor. Her most recent poetry has appeared in Peninsula Poets, The Healing Muse, Mezzo Cammin, Midwest Quarterly, and Journal of Poetry Therapy.