“Lady Macbeth Speaks” by Allene Nichols

My life has been circumscribed by these thick walls,
by the sound of my own footsteps from kitchen to marriage bed to nursery,
by the petty gossip of bored women and the bile of undigested sweets.

Had I been born a man, to strength and swords, instead of crying babes
and fainting ways, to fight and win or fight and die, but fight, with
war paint and wilding cries, I would not have turned to the dark magic
that boils inside me and bred this ambition,
this shadow demon that can only rule through another.

You say I’m heartless,
because I would bash out the brains of my babe if it were to suit me.
And it would suit me.
You men have pinned me and silenced me
and turned your swords to me without pity.
Why, then, should I show any?

You think that the blood I wash from my hands is the blood of my victims,
but you’re wrong.
It’s my own blood, pouring eternally from invisible wounds.
It’s the blood of my lust, the blood of my need.
It’s the blood that should have ruled.

I should have joined my sisters on the heath,
mixed poisons and told prophecies.
I should have cast curses on sailors and kings,
for they have surely cursed me.

But I will not give them the victory.
I will not say that the dagger poised at my breast is because of them,
or for them.
I will give them no more potency over my death
than they have given me over my life.
This dagger is my dagger and the poisoned tip made from my venom,
the edge sharpened by my hatred.

If I could use this sword to cut the woman from this body and walk free,
a swaggering godling, owner of my own self and ruler of my own passions,
I would endure whatever pain such a sacrifice demanded.
But I will kill the rotten core of this worthless body.

Take my body, unmourned, to the weird sisters, the bearded sisters,
and let them cast my innards into pots to create powerful spells,
for only my sisters know the value of my curse.

Allene Nichols lives in Dallas, TX, where she teaches college literature and composition. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including: Veils, Halos, and Shackles; New Plains Review; Lifting the Sky; Southwestern Haiku and Haiga; and Lunch Ticket. Her plays have been produced in California, Texas, Wisconsin, and New York. You can find her work at https://allenen.wordpress.com/.