“Cross Dressers: The trial of Joan of Arc” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Joan of Arc is interrogated by the Cardinal of Winchester in her prison, 1431 - Paul Delaroche, 1823
Joan of Arc is interrogated by the Cardinal of Winchester in her prison, 1431 – Paul Delaroche, 1823

“Cross Dressers: The trial of Joan of Arc” is one of several Saint Joan-themed poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens included in our Winter 2015 issue.

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AT THIS TEA PARTY OF BENCHES AND BIBLES, the lecturer is part drone, all queen bee.

All of the bigwigs wear wigs. They need more hair to think. Posturing as females, the powdered procure statements. The Statements sound like questions. The questions spit syllables like a furtive glance. Like a good Democrat, Joan attempts a reach across the aisle but she never learned furtive in the womb. A grandiose evening filmed for CNN or Soul Train, all the interesting bits are off camera when it’s all “take my pocket square,” and “Comb out that nest.” The robed ones might as well model maxi dresses. They in drag, She in garb. They sit and stare at each other through stained glass and vaulted ceilings. Go on, tell your tea party story how I came from underground and I will recap how they came from the sky. Our ears will foster care odd sounds of treason and devil. You do the ranting. I will do the pouring. And at the end of month’s end, whispers of pyres, of throwing a cat in for the ride, I will succumb. All because I would rather be right than apologize. All that’s missing are knuckle rings and a boom box.

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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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