By Anthony Labriola
Remember that they’re men*. They want to own you,
save you, change you, devour you. In the rescue,
they want you to let down your flowing hair,
or bleed for them. So you bleed blood and honey.
Who is capable of making any woman
bleed? You carry your heat like a dragon
incapable of doing anything wrong.
You don’t do exactly what you want to,
especially for the bleeders in your life.
But they punish you for it; hurt you beyond lance
and spur to get you to utter a cry,
which you never do; simply get quieter
and quieter, mouth the words, ghost your own life.
But if you pull things apart, as legends do,
you see yourself from their point of view,
through puffs of smoke and ash, shut down, shut tight,
like that ailing Knight and the Woman Without Mercy.
It makes sense of being here on the crusade.
Cut through nets of deception, despite the plot.
Keep your appointment with the quest
through acts of improbable rescue.
*See Phyllis McGinley’s poem, “First Lesson.”
Anthony Labriola’s works include: The Rigged Universe (Shanti Arts), Sun Dogs (Battered Suitcase Press), Devouring the Artist, The Pros & Cons of Dragon-Slaying, Poor Love & Other Stories, Invisible Mending, The Blessing of the Bikes & Other Life Cycles (Anaphora Literary Press), and The Japanese Waltzing Mouse & Other Tales (Cranberry Tree Press). A new novella, The Lonely Barber, will be out in June 2017. A new collection of poetry, Birds & Arrows (Shanti Arts Press) will be out in 2017.