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Winter
2009

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Juno MacGuff to Bristol Palin
J. Bradley

The words "hasty abortion"
spilled out of my mouth easily
but I couldn't go through with it
either. Like you, I knew it
had fingernails already.

But, honest to blog,
you're keeping the baby?
Even I knew that it
was better off with someone
in the Pennysaver.

Bristol, don't you know
a presidential election
is no place to have a baby?

Your mother wants you
to keep it, use the ultrasounds
as love notes passed
from clerk to Justice,
hoping it woos them
to break up with Roe
and go back to Wade.

Photos of your swelling belly
will go to school districts
as evidence of the effectiveness
of abstinence-only sex-ed.

Protesters will wear
your face as a mask.
It'll give people willing
to erase their mistakes
an anti-role model
to face up to.

Your unborn baby
will grow up to be
a sound bite, a soapbox,
a punching bag attached
to a podium.

Will its first words be:
"No comment?"

Choose your soundtrack
carefully so it drowns
the sound of flashbulbs
searing your stomach.

I am fiction.
My words, not mine.
This belly, a prop.
The labor, edited.
The baby, an actor.
The ending, happy.

But I hope the father
of the baby is
totally boss, the macaroni
to your cheese.

I hope you grow up
to be the woman
I wasn't written to be.

I hope you name
the baby something
normal.

Bristol, please,
avoid becoming the fresh face
propaganda needs
during an election year.

Prove me wrong: make me
believe a presidential election
can be a good place
to have a baby.