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  • Sing Goddess, the Anger
  • Ellen Bass (bio)

When I think back to the years I listenedto all the stories of torture, I seethe pencil drawings one girl made

of the rabbits who lived and diedinside her. Benjamin Bunny—and others whose names I might remember

if I could look into her eyes again.She drew herself as a rabbit, brokenat the bottom of the stairs. Cracked

hip, fractured femur. Even if nothingis done, bones knit. Though she limpedlike a stick figure. She drew the screams

of her rabbit as its neck was brokenand tossed down after her, shakingher body slightly, like a spadeful

of earth thrown into a grave. I didn’t askwhat makes a father shatter a child.I didn’t question god. If there’s a god, [End Page 254]

it must be the oscillation inside the atom.The lightning or the ultraviolet radiationthat first struck the chemicals—

methane, formaldehyde, ammonia.Now a woman, she opens her thighsto her husband as rain falls softly

on the roof. She opens her eyesand her mouth, receiving the hungryanimal of his tongue. She claims

her quiet hour. Still,this isn’t the half of it, what was done to her.This is only the rabbit part. This is only

one of the rabbits of the rabbit part.So sing goddess, the anger.Then sing of all we will never understand. [End Page 255]

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass’s most recent book, Like a Beggar, was published in April 2014 by Copper Canyon Press. She was coeditor, along with Florence Howe, of the groundbreaking anthology No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women. Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker and the Atlantic, and she is a winner of a Lambda Literary Award, among other honors. She teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University.



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pp. 254-255
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