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Monday, June 04, 2012


by Patricia Barone

Escaping the brutal sons of men, the unveiled woman
left her rapists behind and hid in a mountain cave.
Though she hide her face with her long hair,
she asked a wise old woman to cut it off.

For a night and a day, she braided it—dark as obsidian—
and sewed the coils together for a hooded cloak.
To dull her pain, she ate hemp seeds,
then climbed the mountain road.

Her pursuers didn’t see her in the crevice of the cliff’s,
sheer drop—a basalt wall ending in scree below,
a fire pit above. She climbed higher, unseen,
past the altar of virgin sacrifice.

Her father and brothers were blind to women, even
the mothers split open to give them lives, a sister
buried in sand after the men who raped her
mistook her for a Markhor goat.

Her family tried to kill her for their honor and missed
the naked feet beneath her cloak of night. They
mistook them for the bones of a snow leopard.
They failed to see her eyes were opal fire
when this Persian cat leapt, and they
died of sinful inattention.

Patricia Barone published a novella, The Wind, and a book of poetry, Handmade Paper with New Rivers Press. Her poetry has been anthologized by Future Cycle, Mutabilis Press, Wising Up Press, Nodin Press, New Rivers Press, Loonfeather Press, Slapering Hol Press, and Prentice Hall. Poetry has appeared in periodicals, including Earth’s Daughters, The Prose Poem Project, Revival (Limerick Ireland), The Shop (County Cork), Germination (Canada), An Sionnach, American Poetry Journal, Great River Review, Pleiades, Commonweal, Seattle Review, Visions International, Widener Review, Blue Buildings, and Milkweed Chronicle. She received a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in poetry, chosen by Marilyn Hacker; a Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Award for short fiction, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant to study with the Irish poet Eavan Boland.