Elegy for the Good Little Girl

Let us remember and lay to rest
a creature so compliant
that she took the rules 
and swallowed them whole
             creating her own iron maiden

In her glass jar like a cricket caught
          the good girl straightens her closet,
	arranging her clothes by color and type
an iron rod for a spine  

At the crack of a twig, she freezes
	all senses taut and alert
one cautious step, then another
 	through the minefield of her home

avoiding the blare of the searchlight
the bite of blame
	of punishing guilt
A snap of a whip and she leaps forth
	a stampede of getting things done

be a good girl, take a memo
scrub this floor, answer the phone
	shut your mouth
who said you could speak?
stand in that corner 
and don’t make a peep
	    What was that sigh?  
What was that look?
you're disrespectful with your eyes

If you must weep, hide under a bush
	        stifle your sobs and don’t come back
till the blotches have turned to pale and
                  your face is well composed
put on your smile and play the part
	as your audience wanders away
don’t let them know 
                     how indifference cuts
	just pretend that you never noticed

there now, that’s better
just be a sweet girl
	say your prayers and obey the boss
set out the dishes 
                   then take them away
hope dies quietly
                   that’s okay

Tossed out on the highway 
too small, too alone
  	            lugging a burden you cannot evade
but now you're the taskmaster of yourself
                   bearing down like a runaway train

today the iron spikes you swallowed
        have grown and impaled your heart 
and it hurts to move or speak or breathe
But what difference does it make?

So long as they're not inconvenienced 
and you come out looking serene
that's truly all that matters
There's comfort in that it seems

for a good girl knows how to soldier on
         disconnecting body and brain
driving yourself to exhaustion
and doing it all alone
Pat yourself on the back, iron maiden
till the train 
                    derails on its own

For you willingly disowned yourself 
     twirling round in cellophane
	            with endearing grin, as if in jest
		but suffocating just the same                           

A snowy bud I tenderly lay
upon your memorial cairn
then turning with a painless breath
step into the quickening dawn

*** Voiceless One collage ***
*** Plastic Wrap collage ***

by Celeste Boudreaux, March 2022

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