Arts and Culture

Suzi Q. Smith: Read the poetry created by this week's cover artist

Page 3 of 7

When My Belly Growls

"And the dogs shall eat Jezebel, and there shall be none to bury her . . . And when Jezebel heard of it she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window." King James Bible Kings II, 9:10, 30

I have never answered to the name Jezebel.

Wept at the pictures in our children's bible when she was cast down. She lay crumpled, the unfinished poem we were afraid to write tossed to the dogs the too-big piece of meat.

It taught me to be quiet, it taught me to behave it told me "never take what's not yours, girl - and by the way, nothing is yours, girl."

I always thought she must have been beautiful. I always thought she must have been smart. I wonder if she was wild, if she was part wolf like me, I wonder if she bit the dogs back, if she yelped when she hit the ground.

I didn't want to be like her. Practiced and mastered the biting of my tongue, did not know then how steel sharpens steel, my shark mouth razor, piercing and pointed now.

I wonder if they will throw me to the dogs.

I wonder if I am wild enough to be their alpha. I wonder if they will be starved enough to eat me anyway. I wonder if I will howl, if the moon will answer hurling a tremendous tide.

I wonder if I will explode into a pack of hungry dogs when my flesh hits the pavement, wonder if we will eat right through the gates.

I have never answered to the name Jezebel. Have been groomed for boxes, placed upon pedestals, called righteous, called virtue, called conscious, called pure, my clumsy feet dangle heavy over edges.

I have had thrones torn from beneath me disintegrate as any bit of glamour taken as every other thing not mine called dirty, called scapegoat, called guilty, called whore

I have never answered.

I have never trusted a table already set have always sympathized with wild-eyed hungry dogs because they know how to hunt

and I, wild-eyed, gnash my terrible teeth when I see pointing fingers clawing hands prepared to lift me to the teeter-totter throne where worship is a stone's throw from murder

I hear the howling outside the walls.

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Kelsey Whipple
Contact: Kelsey Whipple