My mother, also shield-maiden,

this is what He will call you —
weak-boned, feral woman, fit only for taming.

This is what She will throw you —
the bones of contentment, repentance, surrender.

On the field?

Field of battle, field of will’s blood,
field of intellect.  Mother’s little mayhem.

Sword-harried, shield-battered,
bleeding from the lip, never laughing.

Yet, I aim to marry: one who will defer,
knee to knee.  She, I thought.  No, He.

One who knows the sword that graces
the mantle bears my hand print.  One

whose shield will guard our door.

My mother, also shield-maiden,

it’s clear, the sun, on that first
balanced morning.

[Alicia Cole, a writer and educator, lives in Lawrenceville, GA, with her photographer husband, their cat Hatshepsut, and two schools of fish.  Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Goblin FruitStrange HorizonsElectric VelocipedeAsimov’s, and Mythic Delirium.  Her musings on writing and life can be found at]

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