To The Man On The NYC Sidewalk

Lynne Schmidt

I will not shrink for you,
align my body in a way that puts my knees
heart at risk.

I am allowed to extend approximately all
two feet of my shoulders and hips
because I have been told long enough
to accommodate you.

I will not shrink for you,
I will allow our bodies to collide
the way atoms slam into each other and bounce away.

I am allowed this space
just as much as you.

And when you mutter under your breath
know my chest is made of granite
and dynamite
and I will eat you alive.

To The Woman On The NYC Sidewalk

We turn our bodies in a synchronized dance
into the flow of people
for a moment
we exchange permission
to exist
in the chaos
that tells us not to.

Lynne Schmidt is a mental health professional and an award winning poet and memoir author who also writes young adult fiction. An avid snowboarder following her abortion experience, she is also an Ambassador for Coalition Snow. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press 2019), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West 2020).  Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne is a five time 2019 Best of the Net Nominee, and an honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski Poetry Award. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.

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