Patron Saint of England, archers, orphans, and students
In Ursula’s dreams, her fiancé dropped his pants and an arrow
shot her in the heart. During the storm on the boat to meet her betrothed,
lightning turned phallic and penetrated her brain. With her army
of 11,000 virgins, Ursula had a recurring vision that they walked
under trees at night, and the moon transformed branches
into a canopy of claws that could never touch them,
until she noticed black snakes coiled and dangling
from the boughs, contorting and flinging themselves at their feet.
It was an impossible task, protecting 11,000 hymens—
worth more than jewels, a pure girl has an allegiance
to goodness, but men have no allegiance to purity. They pollute
everything with their venom. During the massacre, Ursula watched
the men’s blades glimmer with reflections of the heavens before blood
coated their shafts. She took every arrow like a husband.
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