In 1960’s Berkeley, you could find out on Telegraph

where to go. From a Guanajuato summer class, my

Spanish got me through arrangements, but I couldn’t

catch their talk about the fetus’ age, which might have

mattered. I had broken with a boyfriend, coupled just

once with my guitar teacher. When I told my ex, excited –

it was a novelty, at 19 – he took out a calendar to count

himself out. That splashed me down. So I left it at that,

left having left him, alone. Left for the southern border.


I don’t recall panic crossing alone, looking for the clinic.

I don’t remember pain, or bad dreams after. Did I quit

guitar then, or just let it fade from my life over time?

I didn’t swear off sex, but a long time passed before…

I can’t remember feeling very much. Numb, perhaps.


I carried on as Avenue Cinema candy girl and student,

immersed in those volatile times, seeming unburdened.


Then followed a backseat ride across the Bay Bridge

on some friend’s Harley – to North Beach, I suppose.

It was windy, but not cold. San Francisco cool. But a

shiver ran through me as if each cell wall contracted.

I grasped gut-deep, like a knock-out, that someday

I’d have to die. Childhood’s golden circle splintered.