Queen Jane | Kenneth Pobo

After your brothers pimp
you out to the king,
who gets what he wants
on anything,
you must comply,
promising to be bonny
and buxom at bed
and at board. You’d better
keep that promise. Heads
roll off of shoulders easily.
He won’t lose sleep
over your hacked neck.
Your predecessor
made the same promise
and the sword struck.
The next day you
get engaged.
You obey. If not,
you’re in the way,
easily replaced.
You do give birth
to a son, the perfect
incubator wife. Then
you die. He mourns
and starts looking
for #4. He gives you
a fabulous funeral.
That’s more than
Anne Boleyn got.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book out called Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books).  His work has appeared in: Hawaii Review, Amsterdam Review, Brittle Star, The Fiddlehead, Two Thirds North, and elsewhere.

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