SAINT JOAN OF ARC
Patron Saint of martyrs, captives, military, and women soldiers
Not sometimes, but always and for eternity, women
have wished men killed and promised to do it.
They’d feast all night on the tongues of hogs
if they believed the Devil’s potions didn’t ensure Hell.
I’m the accomplice to God’s wrath—
His visions pour into me like a clear glass of liquor;
my throat turns to steel when I speak his name—
nothing burns through this armor.
I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve watched
blond hair mop blood on a battlefield
and I won’t be judged for it, not on earth
or in heaven. You think I need frills of lace
to be whole? I don’t even need this body—
I’ll be remade in miniature statues
with shields and my spirit will bless the shrines
of female soldiers and the ones you call crossdressers.
You’re so focused on burning me, over and over,
that you don’t notice when God’s globe
of fire illuminates the horizon and the wind
gives wings to your swarm of lies.
Soon, everyone will hear of what you did.
My hair sparks until it turns to smoke
and all my bindings dissipate: skirt, body, rope.
Anne Champion of Boston, Massachusetts, is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her work appears in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Epiphany, Salamander, New South, Redivider, PANK, and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, a 2016 Best of the Net winner, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant recipient. http://anne-champion.com