Someday, Baby (pub’d on Manifest Station)

It’s wildfire season in Spokane, so I’m stuck inside Crosswalk, the teen homeless shelter where I work. I’m the summer employment specialist, hired to help the homeless kids in my group learn to get a job and hopefully keep it. 12 kids are supposed to show up, but only two, Jessica and Reya are here and a third, Makayla is on her way.  Usually we go outside to do the job the city gave us a grant to do – measure the slopes and accessibility of streets all over the downtown area, but today the whole city is obscured by the haze from fires on the edge of town. Walking feels like wading through a swamp.

My title, employment specialist seems ironic because for the past couple of years I’ve been pretty much unemployed. Mainly I participated in medical studies while co-conspirator roommate sold her plasma. I had a job working for a place that did digital investigations on people that were accused of looking at child porn, but when I accidentally saw a picture of a little girl in her pink underwear over the shoulder of one of the other employees, I left and never went back.

People don’t stop on the corner outside of 2nd and Post outside of Crosswalk except to wait for a light to change. Homeless adults and rough looking teens own the sidewalk bumming cigarettes and talking shit. Boys in long jerseys of teams that don’t exist hide their probably-stolen kid-sized bikes in upturned garbage cans so they can go inside for a minute. Every morning, girls in tight, once-white tank tops and low slung elastic jeans get out of the hooptie cars of their much older boyfriends and shuffle in to eat breakfast with the other kids. The girls look hard and in control, popping their gum like a warning shot. The boyfriends wait outside smoking cigarettes and scrolling on their phones in their cars or drive around the block waiting to collect their girls again.

Read the full essay on the Manifest Station here.

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An Anthology! About ABORTION!

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I am so honored to have an essay about the women in my family, including myself in this baller anthology. It’s a dream as an artist and as a human to be included among these other incredible people.

Here’s a snippet of my essay, to read the rest, buy the book here.

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In 1915, my great-great grandmother, Iva Urie, had an illegal abortion arranged by her second husband, Archie. Iva was already a loving mother to Floyd, her 11-year-old son from her first marriage.

Floyd was sent out of the house during the abortion. His options were limited: he could chop wood or go into town to watch the brawls that regularly spilled out of Mountain View, Washington’s one tavern. Floyd chose the fights. He watched as two men, one missing an arm from a logging accident, barreled out of the tavern and tangled up in the muddy road. He watched as they beat each other bloody, blood churning into the muddy ground until it disappeared. Floyd,  my great-grandfather, had no idea what was going on at home.

I had my first abortion at 17, at the home of my boyfriend’s parents. I chose a medical abortion. I took two small, white pills over the course of two days and cramped out the pregnancy in the living room. I threw up while watching 16 and Pregnant on MTV while my boyfriend’s mom rubbed my back. I snacked on apples and peanut butter. I cried, missing my own mother. I made  30 trips to the bathroom that night, watching as clumps of clotted blood swirled in the toilet. I was too young, too unstable, too focused; too much and simultaneously not enough to become a mother.

Iva’s abortion went badly. She bled onto the sheets of newspaper covering her thin mattress, which sat directly on the springs of her iron bed frame inside the cheap cedar walls of a home that was never built to last—just one tiny room for the three of them. I think about the pale floral curtains she hung around the tiny, wavy glass windows, the kind of windows that make the rest of the world look distorted.