Hagar and Sarah by Jennifer Wildflower

Hagar:

Hagar tied a knot
and slipped through it

she tapped her
skull to
her son’s

and together they
dipped into the
river of life.

She could lead a battalion
to a place of
naked peace
if not for her flesh,
wrapped in butcher’s paper.

She was unvisited by grace
and so she spelled it out
in the sand.

We are rent from her now,
God’s own beauty

strong only by breaks
in every conscience.

Sarah:

Sarah
you know you
are the one
broken lines
make straight in your wake
and
synonyms are hushed.

Sarah made of fathers
blood and
wooden temples

you are my mother
horned or winged
I am in love with you.
Sara is flexed
she is taut as gums
she is ready for
the king’s house
the new testament
and ungodly pain.

Sarah you could
rule us all
but you lay down
in dirt and
said:
‘action’.

When the body collapses
Sarah alone remains
to taste and see
what damage you have done

she will set your face beside stone
and call you beautful.

My piece is a tribute to Sarah and Hagar, women of ancient times. Their story is known well by most women of Jewish, Christian and Muslim backgrounds. Sarah and Hagar were wives of Abraham. Their descendants are Jews, Christians and Muslims. Muslims are said to be the descendants of Abraham and Hagar; Jews are said to be the descendants of Sarah and Abraham.

I wrote these poems one right after the other, as an attempt to stand squarely in the midst of illusory divides between women, divides which are age-old, enforced dichotomous paradigms that were meant to and do divide and conquer womankind as a class.

These dichotomous paradigms are meant to divide us from each other and to divide us from our selves.

They include the notions of the virgin and the whore, the pure and the defiled, the indentured servant and the slave, the childless and the childbearing, among others. All of these states and titles are, in varying degrees, the exact same thing. As long as they are accepted, promoted, or indulged to whatever degree, no woman is free.

by Jennifer Wildflower

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