Naked in the Macy’s Changing Room Trying to Think of Anything Other Than the Election
Poem by Barbara Costas-Biggs
Before I was grown and called lovers
lovers. Before I was a mother and called
momma. Before I considered myself anything
I had a body: smaller, tighter, in flux
and full of flaws. Yet, always mine.
At eighteen, I slept with a boy I met
my first semester away from home.
I don’t think I liked him much
but he liked me and we moved in together.
His father was a Republican with state political
aspirations. I lived in Tucson, drove
an hour to Nogales to buy
birth control at a Mexican pharmacy.
No prescription, no questions, cheap.
I ate tamales from a street vendor
and brought homemade tortillas home,
stretched and cooked over a fifty-gallon drum.
My slippery mind might be confusing
parts of these memories.
I was stoned gin-drunk living
with a boy who told me, when
he first saw me naked: I wasn’t sure I’d like your body.
And when I got pregnant, told him, over
coffee, I’d made an appointment
for an abortion, he walked to the bank,
handed me $250. A few days later, I drove myself
to an appointment in an adobe strip mall.
On the table, wearing
one of his T-shirts, paint splattered,
the doctor asked me if I was an artist.