After the Abortion

︎︎︎ Susan Coronel

︎ JUNE 27, 2022

The sonographer
is shirtless
and holds
a blunt instrument—
I open my eyes
and it all disappears
one watery image
of a flushed face
and roses
turned to ash
in an empty room
filled with sand.

I welcome whatever
soothes me,
my nest feathered
with a dove’s long lashes,
pickpocketed secrets
gumming branches,
and sodden streets.

The riddle of my life
will never be solved
and I won’t cast myself
off the mountainside—
instead, I ring bells,
gather flowers, wear
yoga pants
as I do downward
facing dog
and pigeon pose
to tame
and embrace
my animal core.

No stones
were thrown at me
but it felt like stones
surrounded me,
diamond disks
my spine
on a vacant planet.

Once the caul
I was shame buoyed
by imagined homelessness,
my breasts lacerated
by red ribbons
teeming from walls—
I am no monster, no Sphinx
of Thebes, but what
I wouldn’t give to have
a lion’s body, serpent’s tail,
eagle wings. I preyed
not on the youth
of the city, but on my own
unformed child.

Susan Michele Coronel
is an NYC-based poet whose poems have appeared in publications including Spillway 29, TAB Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Gyroscope Review, Prometheus Dreaming, Redivider, and One Art. In 2021, one of her poems was runner-up for the Beacon Street Poetry Prize, and another was a finalist in the Millennium Writing Awards. In the same year, she received a Pushcart nomination and was longlisted for the Sappho Prize.