The Abortionist’s Daughter Declares Her Love.

By Shivanee Ramlochan

Here is the church. These are the doors that open to the sea.
My grandmother once knelt here, awed, a special guest to an exorcism.

It is nothing like the movies would have you think,
she told me, and I believed her.

They have called me many things between these aisles,
she told me, and I believed her.

That is the trouble with our trade, she said.
When men aspire to terrible jobs, we offer them hushed respect, the
…..blushing necks of virgins.
Women wearing the same gloves, sorting the same straight-backed pins
…..between the prayers of their teeth,
are taught to deserve nothing more than an acreage of sorrow.

Why an acreage?
Never give a woman more sadness than she needs.
From this fabric, from this persistent earth, she will wrangle greater things
…..than men can fathom.
She will wrestle squalling tar infants from the mire, and those children shall
…..stumble upwards, slicing through the spines of men who have offended
…..their mothers.

Give a woman an acreage of humiliation, with one spade, one crucifix, one
… of straight-backed pins.
You’ve given her nothing she can grow.
Within the year she will run up hard against the borders of her land,
…..shrieking, scouring the air for a way to flee her sex.

Give her enough land to hang herself.

Here is the church. It lies close to the land that they gave us.
Come see the land of my grandmother, and her mother, and hers.
Come walk on the borders of my mother’s land, where no trees grow.


The Caribbean Review of Books, November 2013

Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian fiction writer, poet, and book reviewer. Her creative writing has been published in tongues of the ocean and Draconian Switch. She was one of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s New Talent Showcase writers of 2013.