At the margins
Scribbles embellishing margins:
hares racing down edges of pages,
pussycats popular down centuries.
Rats riding cats. Apes riding goats.
Monkeys at cricket or rounders.
Here is a mermaid with merman,
but where is any real woman?
Except in smut – lions licking maidens,
voyeur dragons salivating,
knights with swords drawn coitus interruptus.
There’s a cat – again – running away,
but not with the spoon over the moon
in its mouth. A sow’s purse is proffered
to yet another woman – at last!
She is demurring. Women on broomsticks,
which might be more hum on sexual fun.
Nun marginalia – no wonder
convents, like cats, were popular.
How else to get a decent picture
of your gender on fine, vellum paper?
There are dragons in this bestiary.
Not a myth for medieval woman,
barely registering a mention in
the marginalia. Where to find
a woman acting normally? Maybe
holding a book instead of a penis?
Here is one brandishing her spindle
like a spear. Not in retreat, neither
object of lust nor subjugated
by knights or by dragons or any beast.
Standing sentry by her spinning wheel.
Spinster, turn it! Make it whirl! Fly from
the margins now. Go forth and prick dragons
with your distaff, sending all the dragons
into one long, deep, thousand year sleep.