You Can't Have It All
By Barbara Ras
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia,
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can't count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.
I need help from a lawyer -- possibly someone with access to Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis databases -- to find a study on The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime by John J. Donohue III (Stanford Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research) and Steven D. Levitt (University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research). I believe the paper came out in 2000. It may have been in: Stanford Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 1; Stanford Law & Economics Olin Working Paper No. 204; UC Berkeley Law & Econ. Paper No. 200 Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Here's the abstract:
We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization. The 5 states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.
I would dearly love to read this if anyone knows where I might find it. Thanks.
Thanks everyone for the good wishes re: the hamster. Kids being kids, they are now campaigning to get two gerbils (one per boy) to live in the cage, since everyone knows hamsters prefer to live alone but gerbils prefer to live in pairs.
New lotr100 challenge: cowardice. Go write!
Pumpkin on the Porch