There Was Once A Secret Among Us
In Memory of Margaret Sanger I. A row of women on the pier. II. Midnight. A row of women on the pier holding empty suitcases hoping to blend into wood and sea never once looking at one another but at the darkness behind one another's back. III. Two am. A row of women on the pier with empty suitcases waiting to adopt a drifting cargo of rubber moons, their last children. IV. New York. The chug of a tugboat beneath the lady's torch— with a gift from France on board the dark deck stuffed inside wet crates pulled from the cold ocean by Liberty's strong hands. V. 1915 Wet crates marked with X's like lonely chromosomes. Inside, immigrating diaphragms stuffed like corks in the long necks of French brandy bottles. VI. Dead of night. Women standing quietly on the pier all in a row, waiting to bring home pale, soft orbs bundled up in empty suitcases held close against their bodies and still slightly wet. One woman looking dead ahead asks sisters and reflections of stars Why have you come? My husband won't sleep on the roof. They have got us, comstock and barrel. One more and I will kill myself. One more and this sea can goddamn have me. One more and I will drown in a brandy bottle. VII. Three thirty am. The pushing of the sea against the pier and thump of a tugboat and she steps onto the wooden slats, this Lady of Liberty come from the sea. One more and I would have died. VIII. A row of women on the pier. The creak of wet wood opening and the shutting of suitcases now full of future emptiness, a new life. Lady of Liberty: give me your tired women and hungry children; your angry mothers and graveyard infants. Dear Mrs. Sanger— one more just one more and I would have come in with the tides.
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Dejah Patterson has always loved writing, and has studied poetry, fiction, and third-person biography writing at the UO in Eugene, OR. She has won several awards for her writing, as well as five dollars from a lottery ticket, and hopes to pursue writing, traveling, and teaching as a career. Dejah is also a songwriter, a musician, and an artist, so if the whole writing thing falls through she’s got those other things going for her, which is nice. She hopes to make it big as a writer someday, so that she can get a roadie to write her bios for her.