To the Next Supreme Justice,
There were also a few hundred looking into abortion through bleaching one’s uterus… —The New York Times
Madam or most likelier Sir, surely by now you have noticed the salt- dark smell of sulfurflour, flower, sweat that lifts from women’s downturned limbs after their close afternoons together. When I go milking it seems my smell is everywhere & if my letters to your co- elder-judges survive,I like to think my bloodbreathing scent has been driven out of their pages until almond, cream, clean grass alone remain, smooth & blank as brochures. I tell myself I must be a fresher midwest. I must becleaner than any harvest, a pasture swept of dust, all my beasts housed elsewhere. I tell myself one must allow oneself to be kept, from time to time one must accept being stripped down & stored. Such is what the midwestwas unswamped for so arms stippled pink with timothy & the lustier mosquitoes can prepare various proteins for the use of those better compensated. Future Honor, the fact is I need counsel: how best to go oncorrectly, to go on with correct living (to go on with living), e.g. the film in which men lock an iron clamp into a cow’s butterfly haunches & hoist her bodily from her rank bed of straw; thus she rose more quicklyfor their morning chores. A necessary pain. Or the tumor on my mother’s wrist purpling, sharpening, until she smashed it with a dictionary collapsed from the blood- edge drumming into her until she balancedback over the gravel to return to barnwork. When she settled into death a penny-sized violet still swelled beyond her yellow wrist. Un- faced, Un- fazed:the body ungoverned requires strategy just as mares overrunning a snow-veiled electric fence are wooed back into a warmer calm, & after, the wires re-stitched, the current re-switched her herd held in place.Sometimes I dream of the road thinning into a distance hidden beyond this farm & all along it snow, wire, current. l await eagerly your response, the response of your brothers, in this hour ofbleach, the year two thousand sixteen.
Copyright © 2018 by Cara Dees
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Cara Dees holds an MFA degree from Vanderbilt University. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and was a finalist for Indiana Review’s 2016 Poetry Prize. Her work appears or is forthcoming in such publications as Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets 2016, Crazyhorse, The Journal, and Southern Humanities Review.
Begun by Donald Barthelme and Phillip Lopate, Gulf Coast is the nationally-distributed journal housed within the University of Houston’s English Department.
Gulf Coast is still student-run. We seek to promote and publish quality literature in our local and national communities while simultaneously teaching excellence in literary publishing to graduate and undergraduate students. While we are committed to providing a balanced combination of literary approaches and voices, all of the editorial positions are two-year terms, thus ensuring a regular turnover in the specific personality and style of the journal.