I have been the girl
given a sack and told
to sort grain from stone.

And I have been the girl
unseated from a horse
whose head was nailed

to the top of the city wall.
I wanted to lie in my cell
and let the rodents eat

my heart out of my chest,
but the bees kept returning,
wanting to be let back

into the womb: they scoured
its walls, taking the last
cache of honey, stirring

the last pool of sulfur
in its depths. In the night,
a bell struck the sound

of its cracking;
it lingered, echo
becoming darkening brass.


In response to Via Negativa: No toll.

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