Wikipedia.) This poem, partly about the rape of Cassandra by Ajax in mythology, also tells the story of the rape of a girl in a parking lot--a story told by the dubious pastor:
The preacher stresses this point
as he reads newsclippings to rows
of children. Their silence thick as gauze
over a slit eye. A creature bent toward
her destruction he calls her. Just as Solomon
paints Cassandra--straining over Ajax
toward Athena's altar, rainbowed pinions
of light pressing her against her assailant.
The preacher's "point" was to blame the victim with a detail of what she had been doing the moment before...as if to provoke/deserve the attack. We all know this old story, alas. And how powerful women are called witches, and burned. In "Cora, Bound to the Tree, Delivers Her Testimony," Cora (the Witch) says:
ahead. Puncture my ankles with an iron rod & call them
pillars of onyx when they refuse to shatter. Watch my
hair flash into steel ribbons under your blades.
Make a profane miracle of me---
It's a beautiful and heartrending book. From "Of the Night":
We will kneel, unfurling
our perfumed nests of hair in offering.
Those who have been reading along in the blog re: Sealey Challenge connections will recognize the blue coincidence of "blue ribbons of humiliation" in "Poem of My Shame." Along with myth and the Bible, there is also Nature--birds and prairie, heron and milkweed. From "Apologia":
Somewhere a goshawk
descends & a pair of women
dress themselves with wishbones in separate
In my separate room, reading of another woman's separate experience, I am connected, I am bound, I am wishing...