Friday, 18 August 2017

Guys (For Heather Heyer)


(for Heather Heyer)

First the fat thing, let's deal with that one.
To be fat is to be human and fallible.
I was fat once. I'm not proud of that fact
but, from your point of view, at least I suffered.
Yes, I know I had choices, yes I knew what they were.
Yes, I suppose you could say that.
Like it says in the proverb, I made my bed.
I made the decision to be fat.

And then there's this 'drain on society' business.
I'm not childless - but I only have one daughter.
I was an elderly prima gravida, not quite thirty-seven.
I guess you'd have to say I wasted time.
For years, therefore, I was a 'burden'
on the state, without much use or value.
You guys would say that I chose that too -
but, hey, I was working and still in my prime.

Now you've explained and made clear to me
the extent of my lazy, selfish thinking,
I can see how I was 'a black hole vortex'
'leeching' on the work of you fine men.
I failed in my duty - as you say my only duty -
and I've wasted half my life in denial.
I guess I'd do things differently
if I had my time again.

One thing, though, I didn't do: I didn't murder my babies.
When I fell pregnant it never crossed my mind
that I actually might kill my own child.
You guys must see some hope in that, yes?
Although, of course, it's really only instinct.
It's not like ethics are something we do,
we who are stupid and fat and reviled.

But listen, you guys, although you know I'm grateful,
there are things I can't help thinking,
just details really but things I think
might help you understand if you knew.
Like the reason I got so fat that time
was because some nice man raped me,
a fine, upstanding man he was.
He talked a lot like you.

© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

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Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes from her home in Penzance. Many things beyond her power to change continue to make her angry. Nevertheless, she tries to remember that, for all its imperfections, life is good.