Judith Beheading Holofernes
I went to Florence to escape his ghost
that haunted me and made me claw my way
deep into closet where I met a host
of fears and ragged breath amid the fray.
Gazing at Artemisa’s masterpiece,
In the last room of my Uffizi tour
Amidst low hum of panic interstice
I felt fear’s hands around my throat once more.
Her blood-flecked bosom steady through the strain
As amber silk envelops strength of arm.
Not left alone, her maid too bears the pain.
I hear his dying gasp with some alarm
because I hold the blade to roughly hew.
Across the centuries, I know her too.
Gretchen Bartels is an associate professor with a passion for writing poetry that is matched only by her enthusiasm for dancing Lindy Hop and Balboa. She volunteers with survivors of sex trafficking at Rebirth Homes.
The Ekphrastic Review
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