new zealand electronic poetry centre

Dinah Hawken

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they refuse, point blank, to take responsibility
for themselves, for us, or for any other damned thing.
But they come, all the same, and screw their ugly knuckles
into our arms, and threaten to hover if they don’t
get our attention. This last bunch rode in like Big Red
and his boys from Albuquerque. Remember? Here was
the quietest State Park in New Mexico, by far. Then,
black sleeveless leather and chicks in the sidecars. Truly,
I’d give anything for peace. I would. Except perhaps,
my life. Or my kids. Or the flicker of life itself.
‘Stanford researchers have made an artificial womb,’
blurts the first one. ‘You are too blatant, and too tactless
to come here,’ I snap back, longing for the primitive
art in leaves, for spring, and the lift of seeds. ‘It is now
possible,’ remarks another, ‘to inseminate
either a woman, or an egg, with pre-selected
male-determining sperm. And,’ it goes on, ‘in India
amniocentesis followed by the abortion
of female foetuses is rapidly increasing.’
‘That’s enough,’ I scream. ‘You’re ganging up and I’m losing
my spirit, my sense of humour.’ ‘Do you know,’ they ask
unmoved, ‘that a woman in North America has
a fifty-fifty chance of keeping her uterus?’
‘Stop,’ I gasp, ‘for God’s sake stop,’ which is just what they won’t
do. The researchers, I mean, and the surgeons, coasting
on and on up the main line, brilliant, sleek, impressive,
carving through the soft hills, breaking the silence, on and
on, towards the place where life begins, needing to be
the first there, to take charge from the start, believing it
possible, refusing to stop, refusing to doubt

From It has no sound and is blue (VUP, 1987)

Dinah Hawken

Last updated 13 December, 2004