Reading a poem about oranges from the Australian poetry journal Cordite alongside a passage in the Talmud took me back to my freshman year in college, when a friend confided in me about having been raped by his roommate. I couldn’t believe it – literally, I told myself it was some sort of inside joke. We had played Risk together (the three of us), watched movies together, listened to music together, gone to gay pride events together. My friend was injured in the assault, and the student health insurance wouldn’t cover his medical care. I’ve lost contact with him completely since then.

The injury my friend sustained is similar to fistula, which occurs mostly in girl children forced to give birth before they are old enough to safely deliver a baby. It just makes me so angry to realize that these girl children will grow up with preventable + treatable fistula and be denied everything from abortion care to fistula surgery, by the American healthcare and legal system, which rewards violence with impunity by making it virtually impossible to collect damages for intentional assaults, and leaves victims without access to even basic medical attention for the harms caused.

This poem is a partial response to those reflections.

Orange tree photographed in Budapest by Tomi Vadász @unsplash.

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Filed under Economics, Poetry

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