To the ill toothed doctor who giggled at the words “Birth Control” falling out of my mouth:
Perhaps you aren’t used to people like me in your office.
Society tells you not to look at me, but rather study.
Curved spines, spasms, posture.
Nothing to admire.
But I’m a Queen-equipped with her own throne.
I get bellows and shouts from passerby all the time. “Pretty lady!” they shout, “Such a shame.”
But for you, dear Mister-Studies-A-Body
You faced the perplexing concept of someone admiring me.
Someone bowing to my feet.
So, when I asked, “Can I have birth control?” and transferred out of my wheelchair, as you tilted your head, with a smirk and asked “Why?”
Well, that’s why and it is also why I’m (Not) sorry for getting you fired.
As a disabled woman who believes and exercises bodily autonomy in different ways seeing as I have PCAs (personal care assistants) whom I rely on in my day to day life, I believe in the power of choice due to my right to privacy in general, and in knowing just how vital and important it is to have control over your own life, which also extends to abortion (my right to choose). Every child should enter the world wanted and properly cared for. This law not only protects me as a disabled woman in my autonomy in regard to pregnancy, but also makes sure that in the event that I do have a child, they enter the world safely and are welcomed. This is why Roe v. Wade matters. This is why Planned Parenthood matters.
This poem sits on a bed of candor and honesty. The speaker forgoes convoluted, ornate diction and, instead, chooses to provide a simple, accessible voice to an incredibly common issue for the sake of proclaiming their narrative, their disability, their STORY as normal. It is excellent in more ways than one.
Bio and Links
Adina Burke is a Spoken Word artist, writer and open mic night aficionado living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Adina is an individual who doesn't like talking about herself very much and instead insists on writing about herself. Born in 1990 with a sweet taste in her mouth for cynical and dry wit, such characteristics can be found in her work and overall demeanor. Much to her credit, she has found a way to make this seem incredibly endearing. Her work focuses on internationalization of all identities and she truly does believe that the pen is mightier than the sword.
This piece was submitted for our call for poetry submissions with the theme "What It Means To Have a Voice: reclaiming power and agency in the face of sexual harassment/assault, misogyny, sex trafficking, rape culture, and gender-based discrimination" on the coattails of the 45th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Read the original call for submissions here >>