top of page

Erin Hoover 

Ex vitro 

​​​​​Did you get to choose? question lobbed 

innocently following this more

or less organized cognitive processing  

of reason yes I filled a swimming   

pool a vat pearl yellow brimmed 

sticky with non-Newtonian polymer 

like the goop children squeeze. Mentally 

I dived in multiplied all the sperm

I’d ever seen in small quantities

pitcher or cup a roommate who kept

it in jars in our basement reckoned 

with that word—choose—conjuring

a grand surprise a certain randomness

or bravery in the right light. My 

one-day child was (and is) a mystery 

but I’ll remind that any dad or mom 

can end up being the same. You fall

into the penis of an actual sociopath 

as I have creeps who are now dads

and while I get the appeal of much 

genetic material stored in one place

discretely from its teeming origins 

bodies of dicks and hands I promise

that like you—if you have children—

I’m like you

I too exercise choice​​            

I chose.


Made possible (Dear Ortho)


When I was born, you were younger than most American brides. Not long since doctors

guinea pigged you

on poor women in Puerto Rico or the F.D.A. called you a lifestyle drug or the courts

built your legality 

on the rights of married people (of course). How you emerged from the male

medical mind

a beacon of synthetic hormonal freedom I’ll never know, as you shifted power womb-ward,

shifted it home

to that hardy organ, pear-sized, a change purse, a fist. Those of us with wombs 

guarded their entry, 

consensually, because for all time, we bore the risk of any coupling, lost every power 

play we tried, and let’s

acknowledge, I had sex against my will more than once, because of most of us do,

are made to. The consensus 

of a generation of mothers grown up Roe-less: beware. Mine dutifully warned of the child

as ruinous agent,

child itself and not the brutish circumstances of her raising, so in my fifteenth year I quit

ovulating by choice

in the staunch tradition of a human mind in any womb-filled body. A pill for college, 

for fulfillment, beyond 

the journey of egg or uterine lining. The Jeffersonian word, “self-evident” for my Puritan

dedication to you,

how I dialed and punched tablets from their compact; but even then, knowing if errant cells 

stuck provisionally, 

neither a man’s scant genetics nor loathing disregard of the state could compel my body,

some call this body

my property, to birth a child. But you and I live inside arguments of long ago. This morning 

I read about your sister, 

pill that clears wombs, for abortion or just miscarriage, a prescription most pharmacies here 

no longer fill.  

How much time left for you? Forgotten while I had rights, all you gave me, no mere position

or career but a whole 

person made possible, phrase apt for me though not my child, the body I imagined 

belonged to her.

Erin Hoover photo.jpg



Erin Hoover is the author of two poetry collections, Barnburner (Elixir, 2018) and No Spare People (Black Lawrence, 2023). An assistant professor of English at Tennessee Tech University, Hoover  hosts Sawmill Poetry, an in-person monthly reading series, and she produces the “Not Abandon, but Abide” monthly interview series for the Southern Review of Books.

Bear Review


bottom of page