She doesn't know King David watches,
doesn't know his lust — blind
to her virtue, her marriage.
I serve this most beautiful of women,
make the water warm, the soap fragrant.
I pour sweet oil between her breasts,
watch it drip on thighs and belly.
She is wed to Uriah, away at war,
but she’s lonely for men's praise,
looks often in the basin
to measure her own beauty.
I fear the king's desire. Their eyes meet,
and I know his will is hers as well.
God will smite them in their coupling.
What will become of me who keeps
their secrets? Are my loyalties to king
or God or to my mistress whom I love
as David loves her, as Uriah loves her.
My secrets must remain more secret still.
Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose. Her work has been published in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Ekphrastic Review, Misfit Magazine, and Psaltery and Lyre, among other print and online journals and anthologies. She has won awards from Goodreads, Poetry Nook, and is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. She blogs at https://SarahRussellPoetry.net.
4/5/2018 03:32:29 pm
I was holding my breath as I read this. Russell does a great job of holding us in the suspense felt by the servant. She also reminds us that our choices and actions ripple out to affect other lives as well as our own. How easy it is for those in power to make others powerless.
5/5/2018 06:01:48 pm
Thanks so much, Alarie. And thanks for sharing this on Facebook!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: