Poem from A Demotion for Chivalry — A Lady’s Challenge by Anita Koester

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


Drop a gage in the lions’ cage and men
will call you a hollow witch, yet stand still,
as they drop their shoe in your belly dew
as they drop their fat fist when you resist,
how they twist your white words, yell you a whore,
a bitch, hollow witch, it’s almost funny,
how that story goes as if vanity
was woman’s work, like knitting or kneeling…
tell me more about the lions, the texture
of their fur, the sheen, the shape, how lustrous,
watch how they lick their clawed paws, lick her wounds,
sharpen their teeth on their metal hides
while we spin wool of their nobility,
how they’d die to protect our bruised bodies.


Anita Olivia Koester is a poet and writer who divides her time between Chicago and Paris. Her poetry and photography can be found in Third Wednesday, Hobart, Two Words For, Paris Lit Up, The Bastille, Belleville Park Pages, Right Hand Pointing and elsewhere. She is currently revising her latest manuscript.