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18+ Violence Mature Content

Paradise

by Em16


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for violence and mature content.

Trigger warning: rape, gun violence, and abortion. 

Amidst the recent talk about abortion
I would like to pose a thought experiment.
Some claim abortion is a great wrong
And banning it would make society better.
Very well. Let us test the claim.
Let us imagine a world where people get pregnant
And no longer have access to abortion.
Surely, after such investigation
We will find it a blessed paradise.

The first entry in our paradise features a young girl
Of fifteen years, who loves pigtails and pink dresses
And sings first soprano in her church choir.
One day, she stayed up late reading her favorite book
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.
As she was setting her book down for the night
She heard a rustling near the foot of the bed.
She didn’t worry. It was probably her cat.

But when she looked up, she saw her father’s eyes.
The rustling grew louder and louder
Until there was the sound of fabric tearing.
There was a violent thrust, and her body trembled.
All over, she hurt, and the mattress shook
And her father whispered to her to stay quiet.

It didn’t matter anyway. Fear paralyzed her
And she didn’t know if she would ever speak again.
She just stared out the window at the moon
And pretended it was all just a nightmare.

Six months later, her mother found her in her room
Lying on the yellow carpet her grandmother had given her.
There was a pile of dried red blood surrounding her corpse.
It perfectly matched the color of her red lipstick.
In her right hand was a straightened wire hanger
And her mouth was opened wide in a silent scream.
When she died, she died totally alone.

That was one example of life in paradise.
It is time that we look at another.
This time the victim is older, though still young.
She is a sophomore in college
And she dreams of being the next Taylor Swift.
The pads of her left fingers are thicker than a steel drum
From her many years spent playing guitar
And her hands are often smudged with ink
After marking up countless sheets of music.

His name was David, and he was beautiful.
He sparkled like a gemstone, his eyes radiant
And when she touched him, she felt as if
She was exploring a hidden cavern, full of treasure.
They used a condom. But it must have broken.
Or maybe David was not the man he said he was
And he tampered with the condom for his own fun.

And when the monthly bleeding didn’t come
She resolved to make it come, by sheer force of will.
She took a gun and shot herself in the stomach.
She was delirious, she was unconscious
As the medics came and rushed her to the hospital.
Through the blood transfusions and surgeries
All she could feel was relief. She wouldn’t be a mother.

And when she finally runs onto that stage, her stage
Singing to a crowd of thousands, she is still grateful.
But she is in pain. Her body is weaker, more tired
And her mind sometimes run in loops, thinking
The sound of the crowd is the sound of the gun clanging.
Sometimes, at night, she touches the scars on her stomach
And wonders why she had to break herself to survive.

Lastly, let’s look at Emily. Emily gets a name
Because she is the perfect one. She did everything right.
She is the paradigm of pro-life sentiment
And thus, she is the one who is blessed by God
Receiving countless rewards for her goodness.
At least, that is what one would imagine.

Emily had been married for three years to Ike.
She was on the pill, but one day, it failed.
She showed him the positive pregnancy test
And the next day he packed his bags and left for England.
She thought about flying out to Canada to get rid of it
But when she talked to her local priest
He told her if she did that, she’d burn in hell.

But when she gave birth, she thought maybe hell
Sounded better than pushing a baby out of your vagina.
Hours passed, full of endless pain and pushing
There was no rest, no break, no relief
Just the contractions, on and on, shaking her like a storm.
She felt like a flimsy ship on the verge of capsizing.

Her vagina had tore so badly she needed twenty stitches,
Her insides were so out of order sitting on the toilet was agony,
And all she wanted was sleep, some rest after the ordeal
But the baby had to fed. Even then, after nearly biting her nipples off
The baby still kept crying, and crying, and crying.
For months afterwards, the baby refused to stop crying
As Emily’s hair fell out, and the dishes piled in the sink
And the laundry went undone, and the bills went unpaid
While Emily tried desperately to keep herself and the baby alive.

Her priest held the baby and told her she was a saint
For creating life. He told her God loved her infinitely.
It was easy for him to say, because he had no children
And didn’t have to get up with the baby in the night.
Everyone said all the pain and heartache would be forgotten
As soon as she held her baby in her arms, but that wasn’t true.
Late at night, when the baby simply wouldn’t stop crying,
She’d think of her old life. All the Netflix shows she watched
All the bars she visited with her friends, eating fries and drinking.
She remembered all the cities in Europe she’d visited
The Eiffel Tower at night, the London Bridge early in the morning.
She thought of all the goals and ambitions she’d had to sacrifice
Now she had a tiny human to care for twenty four hours a day.
Her her baby was adorable, and so cute and precious,
But the baby couldn’t replace everything she’d lost.

So, tonight, when you clasp your hands and pray to God
To create this world, I hope you will think carefully.
I hope you will remember God created women in His image
And that He loves them. I hope you will remember
That for thousands of millennia, women had no rights
And so were forced to suffer countless indignities.
So please, tonight, when you envision your ideal world,
I hope you will spare a thought for the women out there
Who want desperately for you to fight for them, to believe them
To stand on their side and hold their struggle as your own
I hope you will include them in your prayers. 


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551 Reviews


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Wed Jun 29, 2022 12:10 am
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

Oh, goodness. I am speechless. I loved this poem. The narratives you present of these three different women to illustrate the consequences of not having access to safe abortions are beautifully portrayed. I thought that this poem aligned with much of my views toward abortion, so I am biased in a way, but it shows how a mother's life matters just as much as anything that might grow in her uterus.

Your storytelling choices were marvelous in this. By giving each situation a face, you personified these hypothetical situations in a way that made them feel all too real, and, in a way, they are. There's something in writing called "giving everything a face," and you've really done that so well here. The specificity of details in each story was so effective, and each contained very vivid imagery. The contrast in the first story about the teenager was absolutely heart-wrenching; the focus on colors (which started with pink and then ended in red) was also a neat detail to show the absolute tragedy in her path from innocence to death. The second story was also well done; I loved the description of her finger pads being "thicker than a steel drum." Again, great use of details. The final point of "sometimes, at night, she touches the scars on her stomach/and wonders why she had to break herself to survive" lands so heartbreakingly, especially when you described how after shooting herself, all she felt was relief that she wouldn't give birth.

I think my favorite example was probably Emily. Firstly, you gave her a name, and I liked how you described why you did it. (I also liked how you chose to give David and Ike names too, showing subtly that sexism is still very prevalent and men are still regarded as superior in society.) I also think that it illustrates very well a case where abortion, while not medically necessary, still would have been the right choice. No one should ever be forced to give birth, especially if they're bringing a child into an unfortunate living situation. I also loved the lines "But when she talked to her local priest/he told her if she did that, she’d burn in hell/But when she gave birth, she thought maybe hell/sounded better than pushing a baby out of your vagina."

I liked how the title was at odds with the actual content of the poem. By calling it paradise, you bring to mind this ideal world, which is what many people who have anti-abortion views believe will come into being once abortions are made illegal, but the tragedies you describe in the piece in a world without safe and legal abortions reinforce that cynical irony and juxtaposition. I think it was a great choice on your part.

The one thing I would say is that your use of the term "women" excludes others who can give birth but might not necessarily be a woman, like trans men or nonbinary individuals. I understand in poetry all of the proper terminologies can be clunky, though I think it would be nice to acknowledge maybe somewhere at the end.

Overall: amazing work. I think you marvelously showed how abortions are a necessary facet of healthcare, and not having them only creates tragedy. Once again, lovely work. I think this is a truly well-crafted poem.




Em16 says...


Thank you so much for the review! I really appreciate it. Writing this poem was my way of dealing with the insanity of the current Supreme Court. I also know it's not just women who get pregnant, but I was having trouble figuring out where/how to incorporate that into the poem. I'll definitely include it in the next draft.



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Tue Jun 14, 2022 3:16 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



No one stops to think that maybe the woman doesn’t want the baby.Or that the baby didn’t come from love.Or that the person carrying the baby wasn’t a woman but a young girl.No one should be forced to have children.It’s a choice.You should be able to make that choice.I feel like this poem spoke the truth.I won’t say I enjoyed it but it was enlightening to read.I hope you have a good day/night.





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