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poetry Before Roe

They say you can’t go home again, but the Supreme Court says otherwise. Peter Neil Carroll’s Before Roe offers a glimpse of “normal” from the bad old days.

Before Roe

By Peter Neil Carroll

My girlfriend was late. We

were not promiscuous, very

cautious, too young

to indulge freely,

but so much temptation

lay ahead, her lace,

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her satin, my ’56 Buick

convertible, the back seat.

An older friend gave us

chuckled warnings, asked

between snide lips how many

days, which days, Saturdays?

We had reason to worry.

We were normal, healthy,

knew only what we knew

next to nothing.  

Now what would we do, what

could we do? Whatever our

plans, we had to stop.

Wait. Count.

The future also stopped.

Had it already gone? For her,

for me, and being male, mine

mattered more, even to her.

Dumb. Very dumb. No one

really knew how dumb.

For then it arrived after all,

late as magic, but true.

The same dumb luck

led us to be safe,

to marry, but that

was a different mistake.

Peter Neil Carroll latest collection of poetry is Talking to Strangers: Poetry of Everyday Life (Turning Point Press, 2022). A forthcoming book, This Land, These People has won the Poetry Prize Americana.