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Estherazade

By Heather Harris-Bergevin

Sometimes I crave
ordinary issues. For such a time
as this, I’ve been told, I know
I know I know I cannot be anything except
Extraordinary, and there cannot be any
bad hair days, or cellulite,
flat bon mots, dresses slightly uncomfortable
when you are a queen. Yet, I yearn for
slightly over-fermented fruits, gone
softly bad, for kisses accidentally too
wet or too long, for budgeting, for
paying grocery bills and stubbing toes.
I crave bread that needs a less rainy day.
but knowing what I know and how I
know it, those things would brush away
as if they didn’t exist, sweet annoyances,
life’s laughing love of imperfections. What is
there when you are not only a goddessqueen
but an accidentally illicit one, whose predecessor
died refusing to walk crowned but not clothed
when requested, what is there for you then
but fearorfaith? When losing your mind
or heart for a moment could mean losing
your head later on– when one step could kill
not a queen, but a continent, otherwise
incontinent, frozen waiting,
all praying for your steps to be sure, your smile
sparkling, conversation merry, your
ability to please the king nightly, whether
safe storied until sunrise or in other pursuits
giving their own children the chance to
get grown. For such a time as this, they say,
and I will do what is needed to protect my people,
but dream of worrying whether my ankles
look fat in that dress, whether the
dates have gone a little stale. There is no
room for imperfection, now, but mostly
when there is so much riding upon
this one best bet, myself– how could I
even notice concerns to complain over, but
close my eyes considering, thinking (Gd’s
people deserve better) of King and country.

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About Heather Harris-Bergevin

Heather Harris-Bergevin is a poet, copy editor, mother, and resident oddity in Columbia, SC. Her books, Lawless Women, and Katabasis, may be found at BCC Press. Heather may be found in her car.

1 thought on “Estherazade”

  1. Oh I love this poem Heather and the interweaving of Esther and ourselves and the juxtaposition between the ordinary and the required extraordinary and I forgot the other queen was killed because she wouldn’t come out and dance. Feeling that. :0

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