Signing in Exact English

by J. Angelique LePetit

A villanelle for my sister, Marie NicoleHer fingers sway and drip when pleasure comes,
those young hands, doves, unfolding in the air –
but how her fingers hook at pain’s dull drum.

I watch her sign the Psalms as others hum;
she flirts with altar boys, a cassock pair.
Her fingers sway and drip when pleasure comes.

I keep her safe when father’s had his rum.
His fists upon a sibling. Do not stare.
Oh, how her fingers hook at pain’s dull drum.

She laughs upon the stage, she’s having fun –
a thespian at twelve; dramatic flair!
Her fingers sway and drip when pleasure comes.

My teeth are stained with blood, I’ve been struck dumb.
She holds me through the night and strokes my hair.
Oh, how her fingers hook at pain’s dull drum.

I visit at the ward. She’s drugged. She’s numb.
Her wrists are bound; brown straps are what she wears.
No fingers sway or drip, no pleasure comes.
No fingers hook or arch, no pain’s dull drum.

~~~~~

Author Bio
J. Angelique LePetit grew up in the foothills of Colorado where she draws her materials. More >
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One thought on “Signing in Exact English

  1. Murray Alfredson says:

    I find your reversal of the refrain lines of the villanelle very interesting and arresting, Angelique. I wondered whether the descent into acute psychosis is a little too abrupt and not prepared sufficiently, despite the violence present from the second stanza on.

    I don’t feel dogmatic about this, and I am not sure whether a poem needs to ‘explain’ acute psychosis. To offset this consideration is the example of abrupt Stimmungsbruch used by Heinrich Heine in so many of his poems.

    These are simply thought for you to use or reject.

    Like

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