“Neon Shades of Youth” by Jean Prokott

Jean Prokott


With lines from my high school students’ conversations after the Roe v. Wade SCOTUS leak.

it’s not ohvulation it’s awvulation.
I am a young woman
in America.
this is my neon youth.
there is a man in a black coat at the back of the dark alley,
and I fear I am only waiting
my turn.
you cannot build a human from my organs after I die—
a man’s body,
seminal vesicles like a tiny brain
behind his bladder.
no one has ever taken his straight-cis-white-rights.
a woman’s heartbeat, as red as a wax seal,
hides a letter they won’t let us read.
where does the egg go?
are we shells or are we roots or are we buildings or are we torches.

from Poets Respond
May 8, 2022


Jean Prokott: “I wasn’t sure how to write about the leaked opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade—there’s too much to say—so I put it off. But when I heard my students talk about their fears and their futures so openly and passionately, I realized I needed to blend their words with my own.” (web)

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