Ox by Jessica Standifird



She breaks things.
Her children step around her.
Her husband binds her wrists and ankles at night
to keep her from roaming the dark.

Her apologies scrape daylight
and she leaves notes that read:
I’m sorry. I promise, I’ll replace it.
She never does.

Instead, she rubs the bruises on her wrists
and laughs too often,
secretly yearns for restraint.

I trace her movement by the dust of shattered glass,
the clank of bouncing screws on tile,
the shadow of her handwriting.

I can’t tell her there IS a way to move freely,
every time I try she just smiles at me and repeats,
“That may be true for others, honey,
but I was born in the year of the Ox
and every year since has been made of china.”

She drops her head-
doesn’t notice when I lift her chin and
stitch the back of her neck closed
so she is forced to hold her head up,
to look forward.
She doesn’t see me scribbling late into the night,
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I promise , I promise. . . .”


About the Poet

Jessica Standifird is one of our Blue Skirt Founders, as well as a wonderful poet and memoirist.

Find out more about Jessica at https://blueskirtproductions.com/about/

Photo: “Origami” by slehman

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