Based on a True Story
"Do you hear that?"
"It sounds like a child's voice calling out for her mommy."
"Mommy, why did you kill me?"
"Really? I don't hear that. All I hear is the wind."
This miniature script is brought to you in part by the line in Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "The Mother" that reads: "I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children." With the word "voices" being redundant, the narrator, a woman who has had numerous abortions, claims she can sense the voices of her dead children in the billowing breezes. Sounds like someone has a guilty conscience. Well, she isn't the only one. While I am unable to detect a child's murmur in the wind, there's a painstaking grief buried within me that can never be satisfied. Sobbing softly while the class reads and analyzes "The Mother," the poem impacts me in ways I never can imagine because it forces me to come to terms with the harsh reality of my abortion, invites me to wonder, "How can someone have multiple abortions?" and clues me in to the fact that I wasn't alone in loving my dead baby.
Days after I have the abortion, I cry uncontrollable because I feel like I have lost my best friend, and my boyfriend condemns me for "killing his child." Basically I feel alone, and it isn't much comfort when things keep reminding me of my sinful deed. Starting with the most recent, in the school's newspaper The Pinnacle, an article is written about teenaged mothers, and a girl entangle in the trend of getting pregnant before age twenty is carrying her baby to term because she doesn't believe in abortions. Previously in art class, our assignment is to create a collage inspire by a random political topic, and when I reach my hand into the box fill with scattered scraps of paper, I choose abortion. There is also the time where Ms. Dodson distributes an excerpt from a novel, and puzzle by the perplexing text, most of us don't have a smidgen of a hint what we had just read…except one girl. She guesses that the gentleman in the story is pressuring the young woman to have an abortion.
That is correct! What do we have for her, Johnny?
But none of the "coincidence events" has influenced me the way "The Mother" has because certain passages in the poem compels me to view my abortion differently. "I have said, Sweets, if I have sinned, if I seized/Your luck/And your lives from your unfinished reach,/If I stole your births and your names,/Your straight baby tears and your games,/Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,/and your deaths,/If I poisoned the beginning of your breaths,/Believe me that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate." Somewhere in the metropolitan of nerves inside my skull, it clicks that these are what I have taken away from my child – her name, her tears, her emotional tumults, her marriage, even her death – every day proceedings people take for granted. I remember a cacophony of the words from the passage forming in my mind as the class discusses the poem. It almost becomes too much to bear, and while I want to scream, shout, cry, I remain calm because doing those actions will not change the past.
Besides coming to term with the harsh reality of my abortion, I commence to wonder how anyone can go through the procedure a second, third, or even sixth time. Even though it is not entirely explained in the poem, it does suggest that the narrator had more than one abortion. "I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children." Hmmm… children – as in more than one! The protagonist does appear to be remorseful for her decision, but she nefariously continues to kill her children. I promised my boyfriend and myself that I would never have an abortion again, and that is a promise that I am not too worried about breaking.
In the duration of covering various poets, we are also producing a 2100-point senior research paper. Stomped with selecting a topic for the paper, I result to choosing something I wouldn't have much passion writing about. With Ms. K's voice (choose something that you will enjoy writing about) and the dramatic effect the poem imposes on me, I decide to do my project on the emotional ramifications of abortion, and I enjoy doing the paper because in addition to the poem, my loneliness, despair, and emptiness have assuage since I discover there are women out there who are like me. They suffer too from the side effect of missing their child and being lonely. The mother in the poem can be all of us; the poem itself can be based on a true story – my story, their story, and every woman who has endured the pain caused from having an abortion story – our story.
Two and a half months since La Ousha's (I feel the baby was a girl, so I combined my boyfriend Joshua and my names) death, I still morn my loss. While the distress is not as prevalent as it is two and a half days after my ordeal, the affliction will always be emblazoned in my heart, body, mind, and soul. Conversing with the school's social worker and my boyfriend, praying to God, doing the research paper, writing my own poem "The Mother," and this current essay act coping mechanisms for me. I adore this poem so much I've taped it to the wall adjacent to my bed.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, thought faintly, and I loved, I loved you
I love you, Baby La Ousha. Rest in peace, sweetie.