Kerri Farrell Foley

Reading Peyton Place Inside a Planned Parenthood

Mothers, our mothers 
Kept it hidden in the back of their delicate drawers
Next to the sachet seeping essence into unmentionables
Pawed over and swallowed, pages and pages of forbidden 
apple white 
Things, our things
Eyes move, scanning a horizon for keywords
Familiar phrasings we know, we all know. We each had to sit
Straight backed in uncomfortable chairs, posture 
like paper
Backs, our backs
Sore as we drain. Before we were women we were eggs
We save our own shells and try them on sometimes
To see if they still fit. Vanity or pride, 
sampling six-or-seven
Days, our days
Maybe it's the way we were raised. Late to shed our shyness
Then reminded daily how the mantle had felt on our shoulders
Because husks have a function and the 
sermon was
Protection, our protection
Recognize a similar shade of shell and hope she’ll say
I was seventeen. I was thirty-two, I was twenty-six. 
And you can say I was too. Unafraid
to tell

Kerri Farrell Foley is the founder and managing editor of Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. Her poetry and short prose has been published in Black Words on White Paper, Short Fast and DeadlyFlash Daily, and others. Her novel In the Margins was published in 2013.