By Emma Love

I love sex.
Rough and dirty,
Tender and slow,
I love it all.
I was taught
I am free to make choices about my body
As I saw fit.
I was taught
That any pregnancy not my own,
Isn’t any of my damn business.

Tell me life is sacred
And I will agree.
My life is sacred—
I will not jeopardize it
For a religious belief I do not share.

Tell me I’m a godless whore
And I will laugh.
Emblazon a letter on my chest
And I will stain my lips the same scarlet.

Tell me it’s about morality
And I will shrug.
I like my morals fine
And I sleep in peace at night.

Tell me it’s about anything but the babies
And I can brush it off
As impersonal ignorance.

But tell me it’s about the babies,
And I cannot be held accountable
For the beast with sharpened teeth
That emerges.

I cannot be convinced
Condemning a parent and fetus to die
From internal bleeding
As an ectopic pregnancy shreds
Their fallopian tubes apart
Is saving the babies.

I cannot be convinced
Tossing a nameless infant
from foster home
To foster home,
Carving trauma into their DNA,
Is saving the babies.

I cannot be convinced
Pain being passed from one generation
To the next,
To the next—
The love of ill-equipped parents
Warping into despair—
Is saving the babies.

I will wear that scarlet letter,
I will endure judgment and condemnation
and shamelessly enjoy
Every dirty sexual act I please
Because the villains of this story
have never been the pregnant and vulnerable.
The villains of this story
Rule from their bench
Of unelected God-Kings,
Telling us to live with their manufactured consequences.

But where were they
When I first looked into the haunted eyes
Of a violated child?

Where were they
When I photographed cigarette burns
On a young boy’s arm
In a house too small for all his siblings?
Where were they
When I cradled an emaciated toddler
To my chest and wept
As his eyes drifted shut
With exhaustion born of hunger?

So go ahead and preach
Your vile views on sin and sexuality,
But don’t pretend your hatred
Is helping anyone.
When my judgment comes
I won’t claim myself
A paragon of virtue,
But at least when I say I saved the babies,
It will be true.

Emma Love is a 26-year-old writer from Washington state. After working in social services for several years, she is working on her Professional and Creative Writing degree at Central Washington University.


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