Photography © Edward S. Gault
Biology Is Not Destiny
Christians are celebrating, quote the Old
Testament, with warnings of heavy
outcomes if we ignore biology.
Didn’t Jesus arrive, scripture foretold,
to overturn the old laws? Your holy book
isn’t mine. The one you’re quoting isn’t
yours today. That man claimed to have risen
didn’t teach you rules for how to look
after slaves. What’s coming next in losses
for bodily autonomy? Demands
to forfeit a kidney to save a stranger?
Will my body be on hand to bosses
who run the show? We’re not going back.
Women will not submit to this attack.
Women are telling their stories of friends
who died— sepsis or bleeding out
after a bungled abortion. One teen didn’t
realize or comprehend she was pregnant,
but her mother was paying attention,
paid a thousand dollars so that girl
could go on to college, have choices,
including the one not to have children.
Through tears, a women speaks after
fifty-five years of the friend she lost,
her body dismembered when she died
on a table at the hands of a man
who promised her a safe but illegal
abortion. A mothers comes forward
to speak of her baby born clutching
her IUD, stories of failed birth control,
men who removed condoms or refused
to wear them, men who lied about
having vasectomies, had their friends
testify a sexy woman was a whore,
that baby not deserving of a father
or support. Women forced to carry
ectopic pregnancies, girls raped
by stepfathers and uncles, pregnant
in the first year after their first period.
The assaults continue. The men
keep coming, making laws to punish
women for being women. They want
to keep us silent, in our place, enforce
rules routine as sunrise and sunset,
familiar, reliable as the seasons.
Watching the Clock
Years of wishing my days to be over,
waiting to escape from the hospital
laboratory, clock out, head home to
a glass of wine, a meal, a nap. My dog.
Looking forward to the next day off, ahead
to the next Club-Med, planning dinners,
buying books to read when I retired.
In my house, a clock in every room,
calendars on the walls. One hangs
from the refrigerator’s door. Open
on my desk, a monthly calendar,
days marked with deadlines, Zoom
classes, writing groups. No one other
than me makes my schedule.
The world seems crazier and more
dangerous, full of guns. Millions of people
on the run. Sudden changes in the law
affects not just embryos, but everyone.
The terrorists are homegrown, think
God is on their side. Immigrants were
never our enemies. They do the jobs
Americans no longer want to do—
child care, eldercare, cleaning houses,
roofing, gardening, and picking fruit.
Listen to the ticking. My time is running
out. Faster. Faster. I wear a watch
and check the clock. This day is nearly
over, another week has passed. Another
year closer to the end. What do I have
undone? What part of me must I still
befriend? What have I left to mend?
Joan Mazza has worked as a microbiologist, psychotherapist, dream workshop leader, and is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her work has appeared in well-known and unknown places, and she owns more books than she will ever read. And keeps buying them. She’s nearly a hermit in rural central Virginia, and trying not to fall into despair.
Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma.