1 HALF HANGED MARY ("Half hanged Mary" was Mary Webster, who was accused of Up I go like a windfall in reverse, witchcraft in the 1680's in a Puritan town in Massachusetts and a blackened apple stuck back onto the tree. 2. Define hanged from a tree where, according to one of the several "trussed". Trussed hands, rag in my mouth, surviving accounts, she was left all night. It is known that when she a flag raised to salute the moon, was cut down she was still alive, since she lived for another fourteen years.) old bone faced goddess, old original, 3. How is she who once took blood in return for food. similar to a flag being raised?
2 7pm The men of the town stalk homeward, excited by their show of hate, Rumour was loose in the air hunting for some neck to land on. their own evil turned inside out like a glove, I was milking the cow, and me wearing it. the barn door open to the sunset. I didn't feel the aimed word hit 9pm and go in like a soft bullet. I didn't feel the smashed flesh The bonnets come to stare, 4. Who are "the the dark skirts also, bonnets"? Why closing over it like water are they afraid? over a thrown stone. the upturned faces in between, mouths closed so tight they're lipless. I was hanged for living alone I can see down into their eyeholes 1.
3 What types of and nostrils. I can see their fear. for having blue eyes and a sunburned skin, people were tattered skirts, few buttons, vulnerable to a weedy farm in my own name, these kinds of You were my friend, you too. 5. What favors had and a surefire cure for warts; charges during I cured your baby, Mrs., she done for these this period? and flushed yours out of you, women? Oh yes, and breasts, Non wife, to save your life. and a sweet pear hidden in my body. Whenever there's talk of demons Help me down? You don't dare. these come in handy. I might rub off on you, like soot or gossip. Birds of a feather burn together, 8pm though as a rule ravens are singular.
4 6. What could happen if they try to In a gathering like this one help her? What The rope was an improvisation. would "rub off"? With time they'd have thought of axes. the safe place is the background, pretending you can't dance, 12 midnight the safe stance pointing a finger. My throat is taut against the rope I understand. You can't spare choking off words and air; anything, a hand, a piece of bread, a shawl I'm reduced to knotted muscle. against the cold, Blood bulges in my skull, a good word. Lord my clenched teeth hold it in; knows there isn't much I bite down on despair to go around. You need it all. Death sits on my shoulder like a crow waiting for my squeezed beet 8.
5 How is Death like of a heart to burst a crow? A judge? A. dark angel? 10pm so he can eat my eyes Well God, now that I'm up here or like a judge with maybe some time to kill muttering about sluts and punishment away from the daily and licking his lips fingerwork, legwork, work at the hen level, or like a dark angel we can continue our quarrel, insidious in his glossy feathers the one about free will. 7. What are her whispering to me to be easy feelings toward God right now? on myself. To breathe out finally. Is it my choice that I'm dangling How do you Trust me, he says, caressing like a turkey's wattles from this know?
6 Me. Why suffer? more than indifferent tree? If Nature is Your alphabet, A temptation, to sink down 9. What is she trying what letter is this rope? into these definitions. to convince herself to To become a martyr in reverse, do? Does my twisting body spell out Grace? or food, or trash. I hurt, therefore I am. Faith, Charity, and Hope To give up my own words for myself, are three dead angels my own refusals. falling like meteors or To give up knowing. burning owls across To give up pain. the profound blank sky of Your face. To let go. in my body tattering 2am the words I clench my fists hold No Out of my mouth is coming, at some talisman or silver disc my lungs distance from me, a thin gnawing sound flail as if drowning I call which you could confuse with prayer except that on you as witness I did praying is not constrained.
7 No crime I was born I have borne I bear I will be born this is 12. What does she see Or is it, Lord? a crime I will not as her only crime? What Maybe it's more like being strangled acknowledge leaves and wind is the significance of the repetition of the word than I once thought. Maybe it's hold onto me "born/borne"? a gasp for air, prayer. I will not give in Did those men at Pentecost want flames to shoot out of their heads? Did they ask to be tossed 6am 13. How long has she been hanging? on the ground, gabbling like holy poultry, eyeballs bulging? Sun comes up, huge and blaring, no longer a simile for God. 14. Why is the sun As mine are, as mine are.
8 Wrong address. I've been out there. no longer a simile for There is only one prayer; it is not God? the knees in the clean nightgown Time is relative, let me tell you on the hooked rug 10. What two different I have lived a millennium. I want this, I want that. kinds of prayers is she talking about? What is Oh far beyond. HER prayer? I would like to say my hair turned white Call it Please. Call it Mercy. overnight, but it didn't. Call it Not yet, not yet, Instead it was my heart: as Heaven threatens to explode bleached out like meat in water. inwards in fire and shredded flesh, and the angels caw. Also, I'm about three inches taller.
9 This is what happens when you drift in space 3am listening to the gospel of the red hot stars. Wind seethes in the leaves around Pinpoints of infinity riddle my brain, me the tree exude night 11. Why is the wording a revelation of deafness. birds night birds yell inside here so deliberately awkward here? What is my ears like stabbed hearts my heart the poet trying to show At the end of my rope stutters in my fluttering cloth us? I testify to silence. body I dangle with strength Don't say I'm not grateful. going out of me the wind seethes Most will have only one death. mumbling to myself like crazy, I will have two. mouth full of juicy adjectives and purple berries.
10 17. How do the The townsfolk dive headfirst into the bushes townsfolk feel about her now? Why? 8am to get out of my way. When they came to harvest my corpse My first death orbits my head, (open your mouth, close your eyes) an ambiguous nimbus, cut my body from the rope, medallion of my ordeal. No one crosses that circle. surprise, surprise: I was still alive. Having been hanged for something 18. How have things I never said, changed since her Tough luck, folks, I can now say anything I can say. hanging? How has I know the law: she changed? What you can't execute me twice Holiness gleams on my dirty fingers, is her mental state?