Cordelia in Prison
She is left a moment. Footsteps recede.
She can hear nothing familiar—even
the voice of her father a corridor, a world
away has a foreign lilt, a wind
from a place she has never seen.
Silence. Then metal approaches, swing
by clank, and the key turns. The locks,
she notes, are well-oiled here, do not
protest. There are terse-faced men who nod
but do not speak; who slide the rope out hushingly.
She had always known it ends in death.
She tries not to choke or sob, but go
quietly, as in stories. It is difficult.
The men turn away. Is she offending, again,
by saying nothing? She rattles. Grows wings.
Commended in YorkMix 2015 and first printed on their website.
Despite being certified as disabled at age 16, Jennifer A. McGowan has published poetry and prose prolifically on both sides of the Atlantic, including in The Rialto and Pank. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and been highly commended in many competitions. Jennifer’s chapbooks are available from Finishing Line Press; her first collection, The Weight of Coming Home, is from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her website is http://www.jenniferamcgowan.com .