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A Good Girl

Paula Mendoza-Hanna

This is how she refuses. This is how she refused.
This is the snake head, this is her broadsword
This is her word, Lord, the blind body hewed.

Here is her fig, uneaten. Here stretched is beaten skin.
Here is a carved sharp scapula, blessed, undoing.
Here is her vow, Love, her charred and the coals.

This is the split bough, this is the god in the wood.
This is the oak tomb, the water rising, rising.
This is her word, Lord, the stone unmoved.

Here is the apron, hers is the apron and the thread.
Here is the footfall, here is palely loitering.
Here is her white gown, here is the ivory comb.

This is how she—Get thee behind me, I—
This is her eye, his sepulcher, and all what she saw
This is everything she saw, this is how she refused.

Paula Mendoza-Hanna

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