Skewed Priorities (Is this what you wanted?)

Skies of ink and embers
Sit beyond the flames erupting
Between masses of cement and wood
Of a place, she’d once called home

The ever so fragile
House of carnage
Cannot save her now
For she cannot find refuge

In a place as unstable as her future
Her unborn child’s future

The supports tremble
As another aftershock strikes
Sending her tumbling to the floor
Curled up in a heap through the monster’s rampage

She staggers to her feet
Rattling fingers clutching the pain
Hauling breath after breath
As liquid splatters to the ground between her feet

But is that water?
Or is it blood?

Sirens wail in the distance
But none will come to her
She is only a woman
Who may no longer become a mother

There are crescents on her stomach
Carved in the skin by desperate nails
Caked crimson by
The blood of the ones she loves

Shivering in the cold
8-months pregnant and alone

About the Poem

When I first heard about the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, my heart went out to the victims and their families. Scenes of devastation were all over the news—you couldn’t miss it. However, when news came in about the astounding number of women who were pregnant and had no access to reproductive healthcare, it hurt even worse. Many are expected to deliver this month, and others delivered under the rubble or just after being rescued. These women are not being prioritized despite potential life or death situations for themselves and their unborn children which complications from the earthquake, among other political factors, have caused.

About the Author

Emma Hanks is an undergraduate student at Trent University. She hopes to pursue a career in counseling and will continue to write on a variety of topics including mental health and social justice.

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