Cowgirl Filibuster

  

Couplets for heroic Texas women

June 26, 2013

 

Word got out about the bad bill.

College students packed up their bikinis,

 

went back to Austin to tell those men why

women need abortions. Seven hundred

 

were already there. Story after story

for the record: citizen filibuster.

 

Three a.m. The Speaker tells the crowd

he’s heard it all before. They roar.

 

The floor is cleared. Texas Democrats

never have the votes to win a thing.  

 

Their only hope is filibuster.

Another thirteen hours. Wendy Davis,

 

Senator from Fort Worth, once-teenage mom,

ties on her snappy pink Mizuno

 

running shoes beneath her power suit

and big Texas hair. Can’t sit, can’t lean,

 

no food nor water, bathroom break, no “comfort

and assistance.” Wendy Davis reads

 

the ruled-out stories. Women with too many

mouths to feed already. One whose longed-

 

-for pregnancy became a fetus that

could not survive its birth. Middle schoolers.

 

Men remembering a sister’s or

a girlfriend’s botched pre-Roe abortion.

 

And many, many women pregnant

by someone who had raped them, hurt their kids.

 

I thought of Brittney, at fourteen, who begged

me not to tell her mom, said “Now seventeen,

 

that’s different, old enough to have a kid.”

Of Karen. When we both were seventeen

 

in 1981, you still needed,

in Canada, a parent’s permission.

 

We told them we were going skiing,

drove to Montana, skis strapped to the car,

 

and ended Karen’s pregnancy. Today

a teenage girl can’t get that in Montana.

 

By now two thousand advocates swell

the Capitol, flow into the night.

 

At last, Republicans shut Wendy up.

They say she leans. Quarter to midnight

 

and Senator Leticia Van de Putte

fresh from her father’s funeral, is ignored.

 

“When may a female senator raise

her hand and receive recognition

 

from her male colleagues?” The people ignore

order, warnings, holler, bang on chairs,

 

sing UT’s football fight song, yell For shame.

Grannies are dragged out. Minutes go by.

 

Ten. Fifteen. Eighteen. The bill fails!

and Wendy Davis takes a drink and pees.

 

Madge kept our boys, the fruit of pregnancies

I loved, up late to watch the Capitol live feed.

 

Elated, they Minecrafted fireworks

that read “I Stand With Texas Women.”

 

 

-Lisa L. Moore 

 

Used by permission.  

 

 

Lisa L. Moore‘s writing has been awarded the Lambda Literary Foundation Award and the Art/Lines Juried Poetry Prize.She is the author or editor of four scholarly books and her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Lavender ReviewSinister Wisdom, andBroadsided. She lives in Austin, Texas.

 

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