Be Afraid                                                                                   by Delma Thompson

A right to an abortion is a very little portion
of what "Red" legislatures have in mind.
They have time to waste now
and must cave to suit their base now
by overtaking lives of womankind.

Freedom's big on their agenda until practiced by defenders
who believe that freedom's meant for all.
And when they make decisions
that add unjust provisions
you'd better take a stand, I'm telling y'all.

So in case you missed the memo, your privacy's in danger
and you'd better be afraid
for Kansas-style Sharia's creeping in with new ideas
and the legislature's ready to invade:

who to love, how to pray, what to teach, what not to say;
next you know they'll hire bedroom police.
Their business now is running yours
of that fact please rest assured--
not much privacy is left for them to seize.

Conservatives on the right are digging in and plan to fight.
They want to rule your body and your soul,
so ladies find your backbone, use your vote to quickly dethrone
those who want what's left of your control.
So Be Afraid!  Be Very Afraid!

Delma Thompson is an 88 year old previously unpublished writer of poetry and prose. The subjects of human rights and politics make up the majority of her current work and provide much fodder for her creativity. She performs this poem at rallies, get out the vote events, and open mics in the Pittsburg, KS area, as well as singing a song called “Donny Boy” to the tune of “Danny Boy” about a certain former president eventually ending up in jail. The audience generally gives her a standing o for poem and song.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which they should vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.


A Blank Sheet of Paper: A Poem in Free Verse for Free Women . by Diane Wahto

Lawmakers etch their restrictions on sovereign bodies,diane-wahto

obliterate women out of existence, into servitude.

Lawmakers scribble laws, sentence women to a word

web of confinement. Lawmakers in marble halls

of statehouses, pillared halls of Washington, raise

their voices in pious tones, invoke a fantasy god

of their own devising as justification for their laws.

Lawmakers spout platitudes of concern for women,

their safety, their health, then doodle laws to bring

harm upon women. Lawmakers pray to their gods

to end abortion, lawmakers who would punish

providers, lawmakers who send their daughters

to accommodating doctors, doctors who would

never utter the word “abortion,” who instead

say, “D &C.” A woman will say “abortion,”

will say the law of her own conscience will

guide her, a law not written anywhere

but in her sovereign being. A law

on a blank piece of paper, a law

written by each woman who will

decide how she must fulfill her destiny.

Diane Wahto
received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of
Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.