I wear the crown of faithfulness.
Look in a dictionary for the word and there I am.
So I waited twenty years for a husband
who deserted me for the wars
then ended up traveling the world
like one long road trip with his muscle boys.
I waited while they messed around
with storms and sirens and spirits.
You think it was easy having
all those dudes hanging around
(over 100 I heard)
wanting to take up where Odysseus left off,
gorging on his dwindling flock,
swigging from his cherished cup,
belching and snoring from every room
while I chilled,
watching their moony eyes and lovesick smiles,
just waiting to jump my bones.
Eventually I had to get tricky though
use all my wits, be careful, patient.
I said I’d marry one of them when
I finished weaving this death shroud.
Day after day I sat at my loom
twining lies and wiles into the warp,
then unraveling those same threads every night.
For three years I wove and then unwove that shroud,
holding off the suitors with my tricks,
living on no sleep,
sneaking around at all hours
quiet as a winter moon,
my fingers harping the still air.
You’d think I’d be known for things
other than loyalty and devotion,
maybe a sharp mind,
cunning thought, resourceful skills,
even for being one clever chickie.
Instead I’m frozen at this open window,
forever torching a candle called virtue.
Allison Thorpe is the author of several collections of poems, most recently What She Sees: Poems for Georgia O’Keefe (White Knuckle Press) and Dorothy’s Glasses (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). A Pushcart nominee, she has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Meat for Tea, Big River Poetry Review, MacGuffin, Black Fox Literary Magazine, South85 Journal, and Scapegoat Review, among others.
Artwork: Alex Kirzhner, “Spreading Lies”