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by Katherine E. Young

Peter the Great's first wife, from her nunnery

I fell silent. Awake! cried the sunshine
and daisies and milkweed so fine
and ephemeral. Awake! cried the wild crow,
fluttering covetous and low
above the corn. Awake! cried the grey mouse
sorting grain in his winter house
within my wall. Awake! cried the black monk
from inside of God's own great house.
And at his command I opened my mouth —
but they had torn out my tongue.

First published in The Delmarva Review.

From her collection Day of the Border Guards


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