Judith Slaying Holofernes
Let us walk down the hall to the murder scene
with our heroines—Judith and Abra—busy in the bedchamber
where Holofernes lies stretched across the mattress,
chiaroscuro controlling this biblical story
the artist has brought his blood to the foreground
so we might smell its sticky sweetness
see in detail the rivulets streaking the bed sheets,
weigh who tips the scales: revenge or forgiveness
Judith wears a royal blue dress to mark the occasion
dabs of pigment push her sleeves up muscular arms,
her left hand outstretched, pressed to his head
her right hand holds the cross-shaped sword
the maidservant Abra, in her carmine dress, assists
the widow’s hand, both braced against the frame
until the work is done. Have you ever held a knife
and thought how some light might save your life?
Sharon Tracey is a writer, editor and author of What I Remember Most Is Everything (ALL CAPS PUBLISHING, 2017), her first full-length collection of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Silkworm, The Skinny Poetry Journal and are forthcoming in Common Ground Review and Ekphrasis. Art and nature are recurring themes in her work. She has enjoyed a varied career as an environmentalist, policy analyst, editor and communications director. She is currently working on a series of poems featuring women artists of the past five centuries.
The Ekphrastic Review
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