“Siege of Compiegne” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Capture of the Maid at Compiegne - James William Edmund Doyle, 1864
Capture of the Maid at Compiegne – James William Edmund Doyle, 1864

The 2nd of Jennifer MacBain-Stephens‘ 5 poems on Joan of Arc featured in our Winter 2015 issue is “Siege of Compiegne,” a lyrical look at the Maid of Orelans’ dramatic and scandalous capture.

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EVEN ROCKS BETRAY YOU. Chucked from above, split over silver fish helmets scampering up the wall. Not burned, stuck in the walls, keystones have nothing else to look at. So they smirk at dead bodies. When the talisman reads Joan’s transcribers’ notes it is already too late. The last group to leave the bar, the battlefield leftovers, eyes speak Guillaume de Flavy: traitor. His party trick of locking the gates behind everyone flayed facial skin. Joan’s last act in the Hundred Years’ War was meeting dirt with her face. Butcher men, sour men, like to pull things off of other things. Once, a blood orange spectrum of battering rams against torsos and teeth assaulted dusk’s skyline. Now the pillaging of tendons ends. Joan found a higher, abnormal light, put it in her pocket. No diseased white matter.  She knows her molecules will burst at a million degrees. She waits, tied up.  Meanwhile, enemy thighs squat, break bread over beef stock. Crush the crusts into the juice. God is too small.

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AuthorphotoJENNIFER MacBAIN-STEPHENS is the author of three chapbooks: Every Her Dies (ELJ Publications), Clotheshorse (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Backyard Poems (forthcoming, 2015). Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared in public place in Iowa City. Recent work can bee seen / is forthcoming at Dressing Room Poetry Journal, The Blue Hour, The Golden Walkman,Split Rock Review, Toad Suck Review, Red Savina Review, The Poetry Storehouse, and Hobart. For a complete list of publications and other odds and ends, visit JenniferMacBainStephens.wordpress.com 

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