Ode to She

she’s not beatenbut is internally bruised

she’s not floggedbut her wounds fester

she’s not silencedbut her tongue’s cut out

she’s not chokedbut is strangled

she’s not sacrificedbut her heart, still beating, is

she’s not rapedbut is raped

she’s not thrown in the holebut declines in darkness

she’s not slicedbut bleeds

she’s not tied to the rackbut is wrenched apart

she’s not jailedbut is captive

she’s not questionedbut is grilled

she’s not detainedbut is chained

she’s not enslavedbut is bound

she’s not submergedbut drowns

she’s not burnedbut writhes inside

she’s not shot at the wallbut falls

she’s not crucified but will rise


Virginia Barrett’s work has most recently appeared in Poetry of Resistance: A Multicultural Anthology in Response to Arizona SB 1070 (University of Arizona Press), The Fem, Belle Reve, and Apple Valley Review. She is the editor of two anthologies of contemporary San Francisco poets including OCCUPY SF—poems from the movement. She is the recipient of a 2017 writer’s residency grant from the Helena Wurlitzer Foundation.

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