Anita Olivia Koester
Crown of Thorns
When I was young, they tried to send me down an aisle,
wrapped and packaged as pure, unadulterated
innocence, barely had my period,
and already I was a bride, ordered to denounce the devil,
choose my one true husband, but I had no faith
in men, knew the cross was merely the body
born having to bear itself.
When my breasts began to bud, I thought I had cancer,
forced my sister to touch the hard flesh growing under my nipple,
I cried, thinking this was the first stage of death.
When my mom offered to buy me a tiara,
I died my hair, pulled a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt
over my head, left the store, the church,
to drag greedily at an uncle's cigarettes amid tombstones.
Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet. She is the author of the chapbooks Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press) and Year of the Dogs (Back to Print). Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, Tahoma Literary Review, CALYX Journal, Stirring and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and a Pushcart Prize, and won the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award. She is also the recipient of the Bread Loaf Returning Contributors Award and her writing has been supported by Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm, and SAFTA. Visit her online at– www.anitaoliviakoester.com