Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue
The Cult of True Womanhood
Jesus the lamb, Prometheus the liver
from whom all things taste finer: give us this day
our daily bread and meat, our stolen fire—
the prayer of a barbeque or flambé
that elevates us above the beastly rare—
and the gods’ anger that made rise from clay
a woman, and stuck her in the kitchen, where
bending behind the oven she can’t say
she saw them string him on the cross, tear out
his liver; still, she holds a paring knife
to dice the fruit, open the box, discover
the holy ghost is nothing but a vulture.
A prankster, she will teach you how to doubt,
and you will look away, and call her wife.
The day you left me standing in the K-mart
parking lot, asphalt blistering, my mind
was made up: no long nights weeping, no unkind
insomnia, or even anger—apart
from at the pile of US Weekly and the quart
jar of Camel cash you left behind
in haste. I threw them out, and realigned
the bed against the wall. A fresh start.
As late night infomercials took your place
(I ordered Learn to Love Yourself and Kick Butt,
a Bowflex gym and a keychain filled with mace)
I felt a dull, wretched aching spread
slowly, like a tiny sliver of a cut
that didn’t hurt at all but bled and bled.
Holly Karapetkova is the author of Words We Might One Day Say (Washington Writers' Publishing House, 2010). She is the author of over twenty books and graphic stories for children and young adults. Karapetkova's poetry, prose, and translations from the Bulgarian have appeared in Mid-American Review, 32 Poems, and Huffington Post. She is an Associate Professor of English at Marymount University and lives in Arlington, VA.