For Emma, Who Waits,
who considers murder,
her own blood dampening the straw.
In a fury as fierce and deep and hollow
as her girlhood gone to pieces
she clings to the unspeakable
things his fingers said as they ripped
the gingham: the stopped mouth, the stifled
tongue, the forced knees, the lost button.
The lost button.
She considers how the pitchfork might rise
from that Collins boy’s ribs, thinks
how her sewing scissors would slip easily
into the startled skin
of his bearded throat.
There is no pity from the angels sleeping
in their tender innocence.
No waking angel commands HALT! From the rafters.
No flaming sword drops fire from the loft.
Only the barn owl’s yellow gaze stares
back at her as the heavy wings of shame fall
across her naked breasts. How quietly she lies
as her clenched fist clings to the found button.
Joyce Ellen Davis is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born and raised in the heart of the Mojave Desert in California. She traveled for two years as an actress with the Bishop’s Company, American Repertory Theater before settling down to college life and graduating from the University of Utah. She is the mother of five and grandmother of eight outstanding people. Her first novel, Chrysalis, won a $5,000 publication award from the Utah Arts Council and was nominated for the American Book Award. Her second novel, Life Mask, was published in 2014. Her poetry books include Pepek the Assassin and A Book of Fours. More of her published work is available through Lulu.com