Lips Oh You the Doors Of Breath

We had all the weather today. The broccoli plants enjoyed it.

In February, my co-worker and friend contracted an infection and two weeks later an EEG showed no brain activity. The family clung to hope that activity would appear on subsequent tests. For me, it was all over when brain death had occurred, so it was painful to watch her husband and grown children talk about how she was just resting and would be fine, and so much prayer. My head swam. I think it was the backstroke. Every day, I think about her. Our last conversation still brings tears to my eyes.

We walked out of the library in two lady-size huffs.

Tata: – He didn’t have to do that. I mean, nobody has to be that big of a douchebag –

Diane stopped in her tracks to howl.

Diane: I haven’t heard that word in ages!
Tata: I say it all the time – just not in the library.
Diane: Oooh, that’s funny! I’m going to say it all evening.
Tata: I feel we’ve both profited by this conversation. See you tomorrow!

But the next time I saw her she was in a coma and her daughter was reading to her from the Bible. Of course, I wish I’d started swearing sooner. We all have regrets.

One thing I didn’t notice until weeks after her death was that all along she’d given me little presents. In the foyer of my house sits a candle she gave me as a housewarming gift. On my desk is a work-safe photocopy of a prayer I don’t actually believe but loved because it was just so funny. In my desk, I found a magnifying glass she gave me when she decided my job was all detective work. She gave me a music box harlequin topped with feathers and decorated with sequins she said reminded her of me. I wondered if that meant I was a shiny clown on a portable box, but who can argue that? Even the portable part? She gave me mint plants pulled from her mother’s yard and I fully expected them to take over a section of the front lawn. Strangely, this is the gift with an unexpected outcome: the mint died, too. I am absolutely sure Diane would find that hilarious.

Dances While Her Father Plays Guitar

Some of the stray cats prowl the yards and gardens, but stop by our backyard for a cautious bite to eat. Others, like this giant tom we call Tom, come around for an amuse buche and repartee. His eyes are green, his movements smooth and fluid like a cougar’s. While Pete stood on the back steps with the camera a huge Rottweiler on the other side of the fence barked ferociously. Tom didn’t flinch. He’s a professional, you see.

No Other Troy For Me To Burn

I’ve been thinking all day about why I stopped doing clinic defense almost twenty years ago. The clinic I’d devoted two years to defending was firebombed and I gave a speech standing next to the charred ruins. For me, something had changed. Domestic terrorists, well-known to the government, were allowed to carry out their threats. It didn’t have to happen, but it did. This wasn’t in Kansas or Texas, where you might expect women’s medical care to be imperiled. No. This was New Jersey. Everyone knew Operation Rescue had it in for us, and in George H. W. Bush’s America, everyone left us twisting in the wind.

Shortly thereafter, my grandmother died, I left the Fabulous Ex-Husband(tm) and launched my illustrious and all-consuming art career. The lessons I had learned were that my vigilance accomplished nothing; that we were each on our own and that law enforcement didn’t give a shit about women. On that last point, I have never been disappointed. Instead of clinic defense, I drove women for abortions because I am not afraid to punch rabid PTA moms in the face while cooing gently to a distressed patient. That is not actually good escort behavior, by the way. Eventually, I couldn’t stand even talking to pro-choice relatives who insisted Roe would never be overturned while they voted Republican. I went home. I admit this: I do not have the strength to argue anymore, and for myself, I don’t have to because after the hysterectomy, I do not have to worry about getting pregnant. Believe it or not, this is not all about me.

I’m long done with candlelight vigils and patience. My standing ankle-deep in slushy mud holding a sign so I can be counted for women’s organizations that care more about donations than resisting Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination is not gonna happen because fuck that noise. I’m done listening to men talk about icky abortion because do I fucking talk about my feelings about prostate treatments? I do not because there’s no reason for me to have feelings about fucking prostates. I DON’T FUCKING HAVE ONE. My opinion is not needed. Perhaps 95% of men have no standing to discuss abortion, and this

Tiller’s Killer
Is it wrong to murder an abortionist?

– is so far beyond the pale that saying Fuck this fucking guy isn’t fucking enough. But singling out Saletan for a verbal beating accomplishes nothing. I’m done with that, I’m done with all that. I’m done with one more thing: shame, because we can no longer afford it. I have had an abortion. The circumstances are not important. Your sympathy doesn’t interest me. What is important is that I chose to have that kind of medical care, and I do not regret it. In theory, it shouldn’t be any more important than if I’d had wisdom teeth removed. Further, people who think they don’t know anyone who’s had an abortion are fucking kidding themselves.

It’s time for old ladies to stand up. No one is going to come to my house and put a bullet in me for exercising my right to chose, thus it is my obligation to defend that right I no longer need for young women who do. What I’m done with, that’s behind me. I do not know what I will do, but I’m starting here.

Running Up That Road, Running Up That Hill

Speechless with horror:

WICHITA, Kan. – Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

The gunman fled, but a 51-year-old suspect was detained some 170 miles away in suburban Kansas City three hours after the shooting, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said.

Although Stolz refused to release the man’s name, Johnson County sheriff’s spokesman Tom Erickson identified the detained man as Scott Roeder. He has not been charged in the slaying and was expected to be taken to Wichita for questioning.

There was no immediate word of the motive Tiller’s assailant. But the doctor’s violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.

Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, Stolz said. Tiller’s attorney, Dan Monnat, said Tiller’s wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time.

I knew this day would come. Everyone did. Even so, he lived every day courageously in a dark and dangerous time. He is truly a hero, most especially to the vulnerable women whose lives he saved.