She wants the red-stained, overripe lips. She wants the terminal illness so she becomes, vampire. Burned baby like the jackfruit and pomegranate. The mother dries her up and won’t produce any more for him, cracks rising from her reprieved flesh. In the old, the ancient days, they needed. Sun. Fire. They needed the trickling spill of so much heat blazing and turning riches into spoils.
They locked the doors to the Great Library at night but a woman crept in. It was her heat and fire, her hot-wet primordium, sizzling around in the night like a firefly’s cartwheels. She set off fireworks to not exist all from anachronisms. She cried out #MeToo at the right moment.
Revenge waits there, pearlescent caviar on a bed of ice. She said CATALYST and then nightfall all at once.
We found her. Not in the annals of a history textbook but on the front page of the New York Times. She didn’t sew or bow or tidy. Instead she unfurled and cartwheels burst from her hips. She sashayed in a shower of sawdust, ice, and bone.
We skewered her. We ate her flesh and ripped off her false eyelashes. We savaged her for wearing designer clothes, then for wearing clothes from Target, then for wearing, Anything. Fig leaves! We had to do it—we couldn’t let a woman be the savior. Couldn’t give her the three minutes of adoration. Instead. We flinched and cringed. We called her bitch, whore, slut, harpy. We didn’t call her: mother, sister, daughter (but I have a ____ thanks Republican congressman). We opened our compacts and checked our teeth and makeup. Finally, we asked, “Who will lead us?” and she, discredited and downtrodden, she didn’t break the rod over her knee. It’s hard, after all, to be.
Maria S. Picone has an MFA from Goddard College. Her hobbies are learning languages, looking at cats on the internet, and painting. Her poetry appears in Mineral Lit Mag, Ariel Chart, and Eleventh Transmission: 45 Poems of Protest. Her Twitter is @mspicone, and her website ismariaspicone.com.