After Simone Martini, The Carrying of the Cross, 1333
Brazen as those Technicolor poppies that lulled
The animate to sleep to keep the intrepid girl
From reaching the distant, keening city,
Mary Magdalene tumbles down from compact
Jerusalem pressed to near flatness by the crowd
She claims her space, livid scarlet spread
Above the fray of men who yank and elbow
Spears upright, intent on execution. Ruby-shod
Children tap her heated anguish forward
While beloved object of her frenzy, muted
Barely turns. Red dress blares. Her mouth smeared
Alarm of teeth and lips, flaming rivulets of hair
Unbound, exposed, a scandal. Voice sears. Who hears?
Even other women look askance when another woman wails.
Ann de Forest’s short stories, essays, and poetry have appeared in Quarter After Eight, Gyroscope Review, Coal Hill Review, Unbroken, Noctua Review, Cleaver Magazine, The Journal, Hotel Amerika, and PIF, and in Hidden City Philadelphia, where she is a contributing writer. Her most recent work is an anthology of essays WAYS OF WALKING (New Door Books, 2022), a project inspired by having twice walked the entire perimeter of Philadelphia, the city she’s called home for three decades.