Monday, September 30, 2013

The Deer Wife

Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter.

                                                                       Proverbs 6:5

Bear sons. Bind roses on cloth

with the needle’s thread. Braid

and unbraid hair. Look good by the light

of window or hearth-- but say nothing

of the forest.


Open a prayer book, sit

and pretend to read when legs

 want to leap as those of  a doe

defying steep hill and stone chasm,


when the soul needs to shift

molding the shape of her grace

into something wild, furtive.

How dare you ask this of me

when you know I was never tamed

by keys and clocks, psalms or spindle,

 when you know I was raised by the crone,

an orphan she  found  

under fir trees where the deer

and wood pigeons fled.

How dare you ask this of me

when you said you didn’t care

but simply wanted a fair bride

to steal your breath, to share meals

sweetened with wine and fruit.

A maiden’s shy smile.

How can you ask this of me

when you know I ‘m more hoof than heel

growing cold within these walls -- wanting

my pelt of  fur, and not shelter

that will lay your lady to rest

in her own sheet of skin?

How can you ask this of  me?

I weep --

with yet a knife to clean

and a tray  of apples.

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