One or two or three
at a time
In response to
First he raped her in her marriage bed,
where she lay, sold by her father,
paid for with a princess dower.
Raped her again and again,
until she grew to accept it as her due.
The first snake she wore around her arm,
a symbol of her station: rich and gold and
And then he raped her daughter. And when she objected she was jailed and
more snakes grew and
hissed in her ears until she piled them like a crown on her head and
wore them like a queen- still a woman who knew her power.
And then he turned her son against her, beating him until he too betrayed her.
And the snakes rose up from her belly and her groin – wound themselves around her and
strong men looked away in fear. And some in shame and
they despised their own fear and
it made them hate her.
They feared her anger.
Look away they said or you will turn to stone
– so powerful was her rage.
The snakes nested in her hair and
she was sent her out to sea
still they remembered the snakes –
mostly just the snakes,
and shuddered at the memory, and
women were not allowed to be angry or
powerful any more for it made men
it made men weak.