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Esther Decides

She was only a woman, and no more
than his latest wife who was commanded
not to come before him without the grant

he gave away, candy to children.
Although she was beautiful, she had an
inner life she had harrowed a long time.

Often she danced with her soul mates, or she
meditated. Sometimes she prayed. Sometimes
she went to see her shrink. She paid the bills

herself and knew her animus. (Haunted
by the ghost of her lost father, she thought
she slew it every year on his death day,

begged him not to bother her much more.)
But when her cousin called her to act
for her people, for Yahweh, and for herself,

she weighed it on the gauge, as Mary did
one distant day. Then Esther took Spirit,
pumped her lungs with it, breathed seven breaths.

So she walked straight ahead, content to be
a Jew at risk, with good breasts. She wanted
no heaven. She faced him, female to male.

He looked. He decided. But both could live
with themselves a long time after what they said.
Esther alone had caused them to choose. (Now

she tells her dead dad all this as they talk.)

- The Paris Review / Blue, Candled in January Sun

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