Winter 2005



Barbara Nightingale

Of course the women aren’t mentioned
and why would they want to be?
There’s all this begetting and begatting,
blessings stolen in a blind eye,
this hubris of slaughter-
town after town, people after people
wiped out, eradicated (as if
anyone thought the last century new?)
Paternally smiled upon, patted on the head
“Good sons,” and sent on their way.

The only notice they get is
if they’re called Delilah or Bathsheeba,
the little “ah” sound at the end of the name
a pleasant little pop of the tongue, a memory
of soft nights and dark thighs, a night
where even the men sang to each other,
and the women listened from a different tent.

In the morning, they shouldered their burdens
(perhaps now grown minutely larger)
and moved down to the river to wash
their feet, their hair, the clothes of the men
and plot the direction the moon would go

Barbra Nightingale has new work appearing in The Georgetown Review, MiPo, Barrow Street, and Kalliope, and has been a finalist in several contests lately, but still awaiting the Big Cheese for her new manuscript, The Geometry of Dreams. She teaches Literature and Poetry at Broward Community College, South Florida.



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