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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

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ANNE CHAMPION

 

 

 

Anne ChampionAnne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013) and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017).  Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Pinch, Pank Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, Redivider, New South, and elsewhere.  She was a recipient of the Academy of American Poet’s Prize, a recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial grant, a 2015 Best of the Net winner, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She currently teaches writing and literature at Wheelock College in Boston, MA.

 

 

 

Eva Perón

 

 

Don’t ask me what they worshipped in this

            disintegrating body, my pulse like skipping

stones across a river. I used to love like a woman

 

ravenous, take men like a catapult, like the bed

            was nothing but sky without a trace of storm.

As a child, I had to wrench myself from a gangrene

 

wound.  Poverty braided rage up my spine

            that I twisted into my taut bun every morning.

                        In the slums, the poor bellowed and yearned.

 

I touched them to remember: I am no saint.

            But they studied as if I hovered in air. Hush,

I’ll tell you the secret of a political woman:

 

Be as beautiful as an actress, as humble as a nun,

            open your legs to a political man and let lightning

                        peel from your thighs.  Die young. Let disease

 

pluck at your body like a vulture until you transform

            skeletal like a nightmare trick.  Or let a man kill you.

Either way, they’ll clog the streets and embalm

 

your corpse into the nation’s most beloved doll.

            My people, pray for this riotous heart, may rebellion

                        be your weapon.  Remember me whenever you exhale

 

                        smoke, the way it stings, the way it traces the air

            and proves it’s there, the way it threads retribution

into the rags you wear.  Argentina, I’m always here.

 

I don’t sleep.  I don’t suffer.  I beg the streets with you

            always, the tumors trailing my insides like a string of pearls.

                        Someday, this country will be a place where fire

 

                        doesn’t breed cinder, where conviction refuses the master

            and the chain, where hope is parched mouths kissing

a sky never charged with thunder, a cascade of merciful rain.

 

 

 

©2016 Anne Champion

 

 

Author Links

 

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