“Queen of Swords”, “Claws”, “In Her Voice”, “Hunger”, and “Sometimes a Bird Outside”

Queen of Swords

He thought she was the Queen of Swords. She didn’t see herself like that, more like the Queen of Cups perhaps. They both envied stones for not having to wander the earth anymore but being content the way they were forever or for a very long time. On days when she loved him the least and dreamt of running away, he would thank her for loving him. It made her ache. It felt like painting angels in the corner of hell. She would have liked to do her life over again, minus all the unimportance. The fangs of the past sank deep into her flesh and kept on sinking deeper, scaring her into indifference, the apparent default mode of the world. She stood by her window wrapped in fine lace of regret, knowing expectations were relentless enemies of beauty. Things were always milder than anticipated. One time he had compared their love to bread: Everything is a little stale around here. The dagger of his judgment was much sharper than all her alleged swords. The usual problem with truth was everybody ending up subdued. In the vicinity of memory, she couldn’t help but feeling shabby next to his fantasies. She tried hiding her beauty, so it wouldn’t be mocked. Everything they did was an escape from hunger, boredom, ugliness, dissatisfaction. She finally walked alone among wildflowers with their open mouths and matted hair, ferocious in their zest for life. Anything to avoid reality. On the mountain path she was not frumpy. In her dreams she was forever young and the world was in her favor. On the fourth day of roses, alarming cicadas captured her sadness and took it away.


In 1997, she thought it was time to sharpen her claws. Dullness seemed an acquired taste, like docile women afraid of not endorsing sins of their oppressors. The truth will set you free always applied to men. Women? It might kill them. She wanted to live. In peace. Already way back then she had forgotten how to pray. She still can’t remember. Today she sharpens her claws to climb up into the splendor of life, like a tree cat, lured by a scent of honey and sun. Her claws are sharper now, and she has a handful of regrets.

In Her Voice

in memory of a fellow secretary

The click of keyboards sounded like cedar needles ticking down on the rainforest floor last weekend north of Vancouver. So happy we could go with that special fare, maybe we can still squeeze in San Diego too. Tammy brought me a pink carnation, my favorite color, and she didn’t even know. Matt told me today I’ll always have a job here as long as I want. Good. I still want to be included in all this even if it is part time. I don’t like the idea of Mom and Dad officiating at my funeral at all. Likely they will anyway in deference to their insufferable God. Whatever will they say? Thank you? As though I am a momentary toy? I know it won’t bother me then. I shouldn’t let it now. No, I am no angel. Yet. I got mad at one of the District Court clerks yesterday. Their stupid new e- filing system. Her job is to help me not hinder me. So there. I wish I wouldn’t be so helpless, nauseous all the time. Down the hall I hear laughter. Tammy and Susan, full of life and future. How I love that sound.


The young girl’s hunger watches shapes clutch each other everywhere, lips meet, sunlight seals motes into forever, empty fingertips dig deep into her yearning.

By the time her own lips taste such things, she barely notices. Now only the ache remains convincing.

Now her hunger watches beauties play with diamonds, sparkles, sunrays fan from shimmering eyes. They make drawing water from stone look easy, like dancers bending boneless backs.

Meanwhile she works angry hours for a rhinestone dress for rare occasions of glitter while her aura still tentatively whispers pauper. Born hungry and without food.

She stoically loves the yellow leaves of autumn fall like a glistening premonition of snow as she runs in early dawn past beautiful estates, to the public park, where homeless sleepers trouble morning with unavoidable presence. She was told that wealth is found within. She has looked, found nothing but this insatiable hunger.

Sometimes a Bird Outside

Sometimes a bird outside the open window answers or simply does what it always does in any case. She can’t tell. She loves to imagine harmony ascending to a god who honors deep desire.

Even when mistakes are made nobody cringes. Beauty marries stern reality; the wedding night is sweet. Nobody mentions improvement. Nobody wants to go faster, to compete for staged attention. Nobody gives good or bad advice. Waves of beauty stir unfiltered through the chaos of reality.

She also wants to thrill the sun with her small trill of prayer. Now. It is enough.

Beate Sigriddaughterwww.sigriddaughter.net, grew up in Nürnberg, Germany. Her playgrounds were a nearby castle and World War II bomb ruins. She lives and writes in Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), USA, where she was poet laureate from 2017 to 2019. Her work is widely published in literary magazines. Recent publications include a poetry collection, Wild Flowers and a short story collection, Dona Nobis Pacem. In her blog Writing in a Woman’s Voice she publishes other women’s voices.