St. Uncumber Swore Herself to Holy Virginity and Grew a Beard to Avoid Being Forced Into the Marriage Her Father Had Arranged for Her; Enraged, He Crucified Her, His Only Daughter
Quiet as chant
begun as hum
begat by prayer past hymn
downy at my chin but soon
made jugular mane my own
small animal comfort
my fingers curved
in nightlit prayer against my soft faith-
humbled breast thread together twined in secret thicket curling thatch
to feel my Father's warmth
my father's wrath then worth
nothing: weighed against:
have you ever gathered a newfound ounce
of yourself. What did it feel like Could you bear the threat
of having it razored away
My true Uncommon Commoner:
to share His fate was bliss.
The nails went in like screaming as you'd think, then air
left unencumbered me of this
St. Matrona Left Her Husband and Abandoned Her Daughter to the Care of a Nun, In Order to Live a Monastic Life Under the Name Babylas; When Revealed as Woman and Forced to Leave the Monastery, She Founded a New Community of Monastic Women
For a woman looks well to the ways of her household only when she has
founded the right houseful.
For unto me a daughter was born.
Unto a nun was she soon given.
For I was made to build a government by this queer shoulder.
For if my bricks have been crumbled, I will engineer many mansions of hewn stone.
If my sycamores are razed by quake or blaze or spate, I will succeed
them with fresh-nursed forests of cypress and dogwood.
For as a heavy-gilded ring in swine snout is a woman of vision given
in marriage to an average man. For like a merchant ship I came
to a poor port that could not price my wares.
For I might someday be a wonderful counselor.
For every warrior’s battle is bewildered with swirling sound, and garments dyed
by sanguine carnage; but I shall burn their very boots.
For Shagmar and his battle annals are nothing without Anat.
For Princess of Peace is a meaningless title: thus have I built a house and offered
it to God, weight borne by seven pillars.
For as my succor I have splashed through cruor. As smoke devours the thorn, I
have bound the heads of the harmful to my torso. For I have adorned my sash
with their cruel hands. For I have delightedly kindled violators into a feverish
flit by the flint heat of my arrows.
For without the luminous strength of woman, man will eat the flesh of his
neighbor’s arm. For the unfaithful man’s own flesh will be dipped in monthly
blood of women, and he shall eat that as well. His hands still stretched out.
For I have considered a field and conducted its purchase. From my earnings I
have learned to plant my vineyard. For I have learned undiluted that the law
of kindness carried in my tongue is not speech about the law.
For inside, my table is set with mixed wine, welcoming the wretched and simple,
providing for working poor, whom I have found a voice to call to from highest
points inside this city.
For we shall make it ours in spirit. I clothe my family in layers of crimson and
adorn their goblets with plum wine atop linen napery. For these are from my
For I rise in ecstatic hymn before each morning, my self-igniting
candles still alive. For I smile at the future.
For the labor of my hands is a city of chiseled amethyst. For the daughters of my
daughter’s daughters will know how to come adore Him in harp-hosted chorus.
Fox Frazier-Foley’s first book, The Hydromantic Histories (Bright Hill Press, 2015), was selected by Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord as winner of the Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Her chapbook Exodus in X Minor (Sundress Publications, 2014) won the Sundress Publication Chapbook Prize. She has edited two anthologies: one of poetry, titled Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity (Sundress Publications, 2016) and Among Margins: Critical & Lyrical Writing on Aesthetics (Ricochet Editions, 2016). She founded and runs the indie-lit micro press Agape Editions, an imprint of Sundress Publications dedicated to publishing visionary literature.