Michelle Curtis

Gunned Down in Church

- for Dr George Tiller

Ushering in the congregation at your church
Roeder shot you full of bullets—
Your pension for twenty years of saving lives
late-term abortions ending those destined to fail,
fetuses with only partially formed heads,
other nightmare disfigurations, delivering women
from births that could mean for them only death.
You carried this burden. Never faltered,
while critics threw at you their bibles,
their own bodies, their apoplectic hate across picket lines,
even ‘the book’ in the courtroom though it never landed—
Then simple as they come, a man pointed a gun
in the house of your god and took your life to save the life
of “unborn children.” Judge. Jury. Executioner
of you and all those lives, all the grieving,
you could have saved.

Michelle Beltano Curtis is a recent recipient of an MFA from National University. Her writing focuses on her ruminations about the human condition and often includes themes of difference/otherness, sexuality, aging and illness in her distinctively unmitigated voice. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her partner where she works on her poetry and fiction and facilitates a creative writing workshop at a local domestic violence shelter. Her recent publications include The Gnu and Lambda Literary Review.

(author retains copyright)