We’d ride like summer lightning, chasing game
on horses matching stride and hot breath,
and when he plunged the huntsman’s killing dagger
through a hart and showed his crimsoned hands,
my lips would part, hungry to lick them clean.
He liked that I was fearless, like a man.
He gave me gifts, a bow and shooting glove;
I gave a set of Pyrenean spears,
engraved and silver-handled, for hunting boar.
Once, a young greyhound of mine went mad
and killed a yeoman’s cow. Amused, we watched
the men fighting to pull the beasts apart.
A page tossed some coins to pay the farmer
and on we rode, my hound with carmine paws,
shreds of flesh dangling from its teeth.
Yet for all this bloody sport, my lord
was tender. Once, walking out from Mass,
we found a sparrow killed against a window.
Henry knelt, gentle as a mother,
and draped a linen napkin over it,
to hide from me its cleanly broken neck.
Juliana Gray is the author of the poetry collections Roleplay and Anne Boleyn’s Sleeve, which won the 2013 Winged City Chapbook Press poetry chapbook contest. Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from PMS: poemmemoirstory, Tupelo Quarterly, Unsplendid, and elsewhere. An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and is an associate professor of English at Alfred University.
Margaret Bashaar’s poetry has been previously collected into two chapbooks, Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt Press), as well as in many literary journals and anthologies including Rhino, Caketrain, New South, Copper Nickel, and Time You Let Me In. She lives in Pittsburgh where she edits the chapbook press Hyacinth Girl Press and is a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine. Her debut collection, Stationed at the Gateway, will be published by Sundress in 2015.
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