These brambles and thorns have torn my dress.
These wilds speak, crackling with unknown dangers;
yet, as my dress was torn, I stepped deeper,
unflinching as my skin is opened, and I bleed.
* * *
I am moving away from a beast
with whom I fight to enter his domain,
placing myself in these woods newly alive to me,
in the middle of jeopardy;
who traps me, not wanting my imagination
to slip beyond the patterns on our china.
As I wash His shirt
I hear the beast growl.
As I make His bread
I see the hair ruffle on the beast's neck.
As my child sucks my teat
I feel the beast's breath.
As my husband holds me
I feel the beast's claws.
Back In His bedroom I change dresses,
putting aside my stained badge of domesticity
to be mended later, and then ruined again
when I return to the thorns.
I touch my still bleeding cheek
and taste the welcomed struggle.
Next: Sarah Orne Jewette's "A White Heron"
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