The Right to Privacy. A poem by Elizabeth Poliner

Liz Poliner 2479 Color - Copy

The Right to Privacy
“We have had many controversies over these penumbral rights of ‘privacy and repose.’” 
Justice Douglas, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

Winter, years ago, at a Washington D.C. gala—
  a celebration for a friend—and who else is there
    but Sandra Day O’Connor, swinging

with her husband on the dance floor.
  Her dress, black and belted, is knee-length,
    her hair, that bob we’ve come to know,

vestige of the fifties, when she was new to the law,
  among the first women graduates of Stanford.
    No one would hire her then. So forbidding

was her sex, so mysterious, we might liken her
  to Eve, who’s had the book thrown at her
    for bearing all that feminine baggage. But tonight

she wears her history lightly, yes,
  she is light on her feet, her arms wrapped gently
    around a man she loves, she is slim

in that black dress, a shorter more shapely version
  of that familiar black robe. Tonight, she shows
    leg, supple and strong, she shows, albeit judiciously,

sex appeal as he twirls her and she smiles,
  supremely happy. Though she’s maintained
    a woman’s right to privacy, it’s hard not to conceive
how later, home, she might very well disrobe,
  make love, her mind free of the day’s
    weighty decisions, her body safe

in the arms of her love, her head turned briefly
  to the window beside her, to the moon’s penumbra,
    illuminating this intimate domain with its spare glow.

Elizabeth Poliner’s books include the poetry collection, What You Know in Your Hands (David Robert Books), a Beltway Poetry Quarterly Best Book selection for 2015, and the novel, As Close to Us as Breathing (Little, Brown & Co.), winner of the 2017 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in Fiction, finalist for the Ribalow Prize for Jewish fiction and the Library of Virginia’s People’s Choice Award in Fiction, and an Amazon Best Book of 2016.  Her poetry has appeared in the Sun, the Southern Review, the Hopkins Review, Ilanot Review, Seneca Review, and many other journals. She teaches at Hollins University where she holds the Susan Gager Jackson Chair in Creative Writing.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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