On problematic women

How is it that women are the catalyst

when the action is performed by men?

Why is it always us with the apple

of discord, when it is men with the sword?

The towers burn in our slandered names,

And ships are launched on the fame of our faces,

but not by our hands or bodies are they crewed;

Yet it is our bodies which are subjected to crude

consequences and the canvas for speculation.

Give us at least agency over ourselves or discover

Why the fates and furies are all female likewise.

Culpable

Everyone asking, even other girls,

where the pretty ones have gone,

As though they owed anyone,

merely by existing.

But you should know,

you saw them leave, too wasted

to give consent, such a waste,

with the older boys,

Who also felt entitled to access.

We all need to start answering for them,

when their voices have been silent

all these years, and only their

oppressors allowed to speak,

because otherwise, the police

are the ones asking the next day

where the pretty girls are,

and the answer is always ugly.

Capitulation

Despair is a cave I climb in,

large enough only to hold me when I am at my smallest,

curled upon the hollow inside me,

a Russian nesting doll of emptiness,

save for paroxysms of grief

torn from the throat,

which might be mistaken for

laughter devoid of mirth.

Pythia

The cat paws
across the fir floor–
each step
a tiny heartbeat;
my own
pulsates
like a tale
told by an
idiot,
signifying nothing.
Certainly
there is a scrying–
of cat palms,
and jelly-bean-toe-mancy,
to tell my future,
in empty tea cups and
toppled stacks
of books, but perhaps,
none is needed.