For Katherine

We send our girls across the water.  They deserve more. Change is coming.  New is coming. A new moon. A new season. A new day. A new life. It’s there. Beneath our cold, our death and our forgotten. A new chance. 

 

For Katherine

Fourteen.
Across the water
to marry a king.

Fourteen.
Across the water
to lie down for a man
and another man
and another
as they are made.

Bought for a crown,
bought for a pound
of flesh.

Sold to the first son
and then consigned
to the second.

Returned to her
room
to wait
and when the sun comes up
banished.

One job.
Make a prince

The only job.
Make him happy

Strange girl
a hood over
her eyes,
covers her hair
without words
she can hear
without words
she can say
no other way.

Gagged.

Cloth.
Rigid flesh.

Emptying her bowels
her sickness
her sin
in a pot
painted with
delicate lavender violets
in the corner of the room.

In the corner
of the rectangle.

That is her queen’s chamber.
That is her prison.

The water under her
becomes the bed under her
becomes the new green
on the grass
catching what is left
to fall.

The next day,
the next sun.
Always new.

In her old world,
she knew St. Brigid.
Imbolc.
Witches in a dream.
The turn of the dial,
the turn of the moon
and clover sprouts
again.

Then she remembered,                                                                                         in her new world.
In another place,
with another name,
as another girl
that she didn’t know                                                                                           the seasons anymore.

Are we still buying and selling
each other?

A girl
for dowry
for a boy playing soldier?

A girl for
a coin
for her virginity?

When neither ever
owned it herself,
couldn’t broker the sale,
and couldn’t own the
profits if she did.

Changing her name,
sometimes with a K,
others a C,
depending on whose
tongue is curling
around the sounds.

Changing her body,
changing her nightmares
changing her life
that was never
her.

Because she was
her.
Only her.
Never her.
These girls on the water,
drifting,
wanted so much
and not cared for
at all.

Hundreds of years
and we are still
sending our girls
to drown.

Enough have sunk.

They will walk
as their own,
with their own,
on their own
land.

Feet on the sand,
going home.

Make their path.
They’ll travel.

Drain their seas.

They won’t merely
trod on the dirt.

They will fly.

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