The Boat Women by Mark Roper

She is crossing the sea .

with the germ of a child

she does not want to bear.

It will not register

at Customs: the soft load

presses most on her mind.

There is no ritual

for this: the decision

to stay single, the end

Of a possible life.

She has studied pictures

of embryos, the size

of safety pins, human.

She is not in the dark.

There will always remain

a scar, flawed tissue

where a branch didn’t grow.

She will come home having

lost a little weight,

gained a little quiet around

her heart. Her grief can’t be

made public:illegal

this complex compromise.

this human choice, to be

swept under the carpet.

Here are weeping mothers,

children no one wanted.

women worn to the bone.

She chose not to increase.

She has stayed in one piece.

Her body is her own.

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