Barbara Costas-Biggs lives in Eastern Kentucky. Her home is a small organic farm and she works as a law librarian and (occasionally) as an adjunct faculty member at Shawnee State University teaching English Composition. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared recently in Calamus, District Lit, Literary Mama, Compose, The Oyez Review, Four Ties Lit Review, The Pikeville Review, and others. She also is a member the juried poetry series Women of Appalachia: Women Speak. She is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte.
Naked in the Macy’s Changing Room Trying to Think of Anything Other Than the Election
By Barbara Costas-BiggsAdded: Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Used with permission. First place award recipient of the Sixth Annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest (2017).
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 tshirts, paint splattered,
the doctor asked me if I was an artist.