speak forth, then
proclaim your litany of lies
illustrate injustices all beginning with why
(while ignoring inequities, for all must comply)
why can’t you be like elizabeth, fair maiden that she is
who every day pins curled blonde locks to a fine french twist?
who smears talc across eyelids and raised cheekbones
swan-like complexion dainty in the sun
and still remembers the night when that drunkard boy desired some fun?
creamy silk trails delicate kisses when trembling fingers touch
so unlike the calloused hands that jostled her
with tree-knot knuckles rough
whose porcelain skin burns as she drowns in her gown
and ankle boots ground nervously against paved gravel
as she approaches the court, awaiting the gavel
why can’t you be like elizabeth, who hangs her head low
who sits in court with rose lips pressed
to silence lost cries of ‘no’?
pearled ocean eyes obscured to ash, you see
for not a row apart smiles he
who grabbed her wrists and covered her mouth
and crushed her fire, stole her youth
who knows he will utter the final word
and that elizabeth will paste a smile on her lips, and nod to defer
so, dear, why can’t you be like elizabeth
who straightens her bonnet with the stifled strength of an unmarried mother
and looks helplessly into the eyes of her rebellious ‘lover’
why can’t you be like elizabeth?
why can’t you be?
why can’t you?