A Queens Ransom

I used to think myself such the righteous
defender of dandelions. But every weed takes its turn.
I rubbed them on everyone’s chin
for the stolen child
who whipped the rushing river with her golden hair
drown leaves and unquieted mothers’ dreams
I’d left her
for my own essential source of panic
in the error of my evolution
I’d lost something, maybe never
had it—sure that my body had something to do with it,
our espousing self,
the androgynous Animus
kept warm with bread and olive oil, burned
but raw at the core
I do not know what else to do
honored and revered, cult-like with our own despair
around and around the same impasse.

What are your personal disciples like?
Children wandering in someone else’s field.
I am almost totally deaf. All I can hear
is the harshest of birds—crows, blue jays—
the pounding washing machines, buzzes of the phones—
everything non-essential comes through.

Nettle and pigweed.        I see it
like a boat on the empty lake
rowing its empty passengers towards me.

I’m tired of wine, tired of trying.
It’s like
       there are the canonical gospels.
And then there’s the oral tradition of screaming.

During the Nap

A ball of light at the perineum
makes its way to the skull
like an air bubble in the vein.
Your daughter is sleeping.
Her lashes down
like the fringe of piano shawls.
Her fingers point at an angle
like a Giotto. She is sleeping
and for a moment
you are free.
But all you can do is wait
and watch. It is all your
fault—that she is stunning
and innocent and defenseless.
You are the battery
inside the frightening bear
that speaks and sings like an evangelical when shook.
You’re the freak at the gate
who will do anything
for the tiny mad queen.
The sniper in the tower
with no name.


Secretly, the plan is to drink and drink and drink
the whole fucking world—well
who has a better idea?
There’s a lot more apart from self
hatred…isn’t there? Why does it seem
so crucial? Well, someone
needs to hold you
accountable for being born
at the top
of the food chain. You sit there
looking out the window
at the perfect balance of it all
hoping no one asks
what it means. O,
you know what it means.
You feel aghast at it.
In your ganglia, your kidneys.
When it hits home,
(which it does at least once
every day)
that it is something
good, not to be suicidal over,
you shudder and shift
and exploded within,
much like the world did
when it was made.

Bianca Stone is a poet and visual artist. Her books include  Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House & Octopus Books 2014) and The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018). Her poems have appeared in The Baffler, The New Yorker and Poetry.  Her newest book is “A Little Called Pauline,” a poetry comic’s children’s book of a Gertrude Stein (Penny Candy Books, 2020). She lives in Vermont. 

Featured image: ractapopulous (Pixabay)