In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • A Citizen Queen
  • Laura Cronk (bio)

Parading around, pomp, pomp, pomp, Red bulbs on a chain around her neck. Powdered collarbones to be show off With a swish and stomp, pomp, pomp, pomp, Skirts tight in the back for the queenly pomp.

i. In the middle of victory

Stomping around my apartment, stomp, stomp, stomp. The mice don’t even know it’s me that’s killing them, Ha! They think it’s all bad luck, Ha! I’m here and I’ve got teeth and claws——

Queenly pearls and pomp, pearly voice, I’ve got the queenly feeling welling up. I’m bursting with A vitality of the flesh, flesh singing in a key that makes Subordinate other flesh. Subordinate yet drawn.

The mice are stirring, perhaps it’s the song I’ve been singing As a folksy afterthought. Perhaps it’s my perfume. A woman like the rest, they think. This parade is just a show, they think, [End Page 244]

But no! Stomp, stomp, pomp! Stomp, stomp, pomp! Mousies one and mousies two, away with you, away with you. Prepare to writhe in glue, so horrid I won’t look at you.

ii. A vision

Asleep on my queenly hair, I have these visions: Of spiraling stairs, of rooms stacked upon rooms. In the rooms I see people sleeping. In one, I see the executioner, and he’s awake.

The sleep from the others is seeping into his room. The feeling of being surrounded by tender people, Open and tender in sleep, so tender they could be eaten In one mouthful, this feeling is washing over him.

And he’s quiet. I’m taking note. Look, he’s open to something, He’s quiet and awake, he’s not advancing, He’s not even thinking of his planes, maybe he’s not so bad. His blades are crossed over his legs.

iii. The Queen’s battle submerged

Alone in the house, slump, slump, slump. A life should be the movement in and out of sleep. Why can’t I sleep? No mice are squirming in their traps, The swords and knives have been cleaned, The house is bloodless and dry, but still I can’t sleep.

An old black iron, rusted and lumpy, I’ll put it on the gas stove. Blue flames creating a solid heat. I’ll wrap it in a towel And bring it to bed. I’ll come back to being just a woman. I want to bring the strange cold dreams While my feet fumble with a warmth that’s almost living. [End Page 245]

To cut this out and be clear, I want to set the fire myself. But the gang with the torches would only laugh If I came running out of the house with my clothes burning, firing a gun. If there’s going to be a fire, they’ll set it. The ones with the torches are the ones with 500 lb. bombs.

iv. Part of the real battle

I’m sleeping with them. I’ll make them all into one. I’m sleeping with him. Giving birth to his child, Combing his hair, feeding him, singing to him, Hoping to calm his nerves, glad that he’s been gentle,

Glad that he’s overlooked some things. I’ve been leaving out books about health, The ones I’ve read. It’s slow work. I kiss his face All over. I buy meat whole and cut it apart.

I’m trying to be something from the inside, but This discomfort makes it hard to think sometimes or read. To cut this out and be clear, when I said he, I meant they. When I said me, I meant us.

We’re eating too much to be attractive. I’ll throw up From using their language. Where’s my queenly quality With my separate apartment? That I want to say

We’re all the ugly feminine, Our faces painted on . . . [End Page 246] Tick, tick, tick, time running out ahead. Looking for a subject, no subject is around. The big round bottom slumps in its dress Even though she’s nothing, she’s a queen nonetheless. A queen as...