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Poem Honoring Slain Abortion Doctor - Again

by Judith Arcana

Obstetrician Murdered by Terrorist in Amherst, New York
by Judith Arcana

This poem, written for Barnett Slepian
is here dedicated, in memoriam
and with gratitude, to George Tiller


The doctor went into the kitchen
where if you can't stand the heat
you don't stand by the window
and he stood there, he came in
to maybe drink a glass of water,
and there was a window in the kitchen
with no blinds, no shade, no curtains
closed in front of the doctor
while he drank his glass of water
while the man outside pulled the trigger.
In the newspaper, on television
the police chief said he thinks
that shooting was the doctor's fault
the doctor was not careful
the chief had told him not to
stand there in the kitchen
by the window, not to put butter
on bread, no strawberry jam, no soup
in front of the window
with no shades or blinds or curtains.
All the doctors who want a glass of water
were told not to stand, they were told
to pull the shades
shut the curtains
close the blinds
but maybe the doctor wanted –
maybe he wanted to live
his own life, as long as he had it –
he wanted his life to stand:
he wanted to stand in his own life.

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Judith Arcana writes poems, stories, essays and books; she's just published 4th Period English, a chapbook of poems about immigration in the voices of high school students & some visitors to their class. Her prose books include "Grace Paley's Life Stories, A Literary Biography," a study of the late activist/writer. Read more about her work on her website.

Also see "On the Murder and Continuing Inspiration of Dr. George Tiller" by Merle Hoffman in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

See "For two women shot to death in Brookline, Massachusetts" by Marge Piercy from the summer 1995 On The Issues Magazine, and reprinted in this edition.


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