Captured Women

And in that house there was a room
That was hung with many drawings
Of women with their mouths tight
Shut, lips making a point:
‘Why do you stand in front of us?
Why stand there? Why not go?’
One dipped her curls forward
Thoughtfully: ‘Why don’t you hang?
When will you go?’ Their hair serious
Expansion of each, upwards, sideways,
A boundary against the questions:
‘Why are we on the brink of you?’
The pencil asked what hair weighs
And drew it to cover the tucked-away
Technology of ear. Listen.
The captured women ask: ‘Why
Do we hang in front of you?
Why hang here? Why don’t we go?’
The jib of them, their hissing sound
Like woodpeckers or worried finches
Considering a swing at the seeds
Before flight from the sparrowhawk:
‘Why do we hang here while you stand?
Why don’t we go? Why don’t we go?’

from Mollicle (Nine Arches, 2010), © Claire Crowther 2010, used by permission of the author

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