No (Wo)man’s Land

Warning: Sensitive topic broached.
Björn at dVerse: MTB asks us to write a cadralor, which poetic form consists of "5, unrelated, numbered stanzaic images, each of which can stand alone as a poem, is fewer than 10 lines, and ideally constrains all stanzas to the same number of lines. Imagery is crucial to cadralore: each stanza should be a whole, imagist poem, almost like a scene from a film, or a photograph. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, alchemically pulling the unrelated stanzas together into a love poem. By “love poem,” we mean that your fifth stanza illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: 'For what do you yearn?'" Click on Mr. Linky to join us.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

A bird cries over the tele-
phone wire, is it you? is it done?
over black shrouded head

Shiny pruning shears in her gloved
hands, methodically apply to de-
locate dead heads, snip, snip

There once was a small torso in a
womb severally dislodged by forceps
into medical waste

If death comes in slippered feet,
will they curl at the ends
or just your lips? Mother?

All the ghosts have left, barren
in winter, the autumn leaves twist
the sea breezes rustle in her mind.

22 thoughts on “No (Wo)man’s Land”

  1. Dora, thank you for the content warning. Very tough to read with vivid haunting images. I’ve known a few women who have undergone the procedure. It is my belief that the rustling sea breezes never leave them. Right to choose needs to remain intact, but…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa,
      Jumped in the deep end with this first cadralor, didn’t I, though it wasn’t meant to go that way. I’ve never met a woman who has not been left scarred by abortion. Many times they’re pressured into it by boyfriends/parents, which make it all the more heinous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dora, I know what you mean about the pressure by others both at a personal and at a societal level. Yes, it *is* heinous! So many times it’s a young person who wears down under pressure. I remember when I got pregnant for my first son. I was single and used our health department to get the pregnancy test. The nurse who confirmed it asked multiple times if I was sure I wanted to keep the baby!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not at all surprised by this, dear Lisa, nor that your heart was more than equal to the circumstances and to resisting the pressure. There are places that offer support and resources before and after pregnancy but they’re not the frontline point of contact for many. Something needs to change about the way we talk about abortion. More than 60 million babies killed in the U.S. alone since 1972. Untold emotional suffering for the mothers. No other country in the world makes it so easy after the first trimester.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Quite horrific and haunting imagery, and you make a very good point that abortion is not a simple procedure, but traumatic for both mother and unborn child. I am not anti-abortionist, and don’t want to wade in on that debate, but I very much felt the presence of a tiny human within me during my pregnancies, including one I lost involuntarily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      I’m so sorry to hear you endured a miscarriage and know from my mother’s and friends’ experiences that the children they carried and never held, never cease to be mourned deeply. Life is life. It’s hard to deny that abortion is the taking of one.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. Very powerful and hard-hitting, Dora. I like how the imagery in the final stanza is almost attempting to be comforting, but in fact accentuates the hollow feeling I got throughout the poem. Always appreciate your work, Dora 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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