By Patricia Brody
“Yet will I show one sight”
That I saw in my time.
From Lines In Prison, Anne Askew, 1546
That dank year in chains, she would not cry out,
her wrists and ankles stretched on Newgate’s rack.
She chose her fate:
“Not to dispraise God, but to love hys Word.”
she burned in July. I saw the Bishop dive
for my living heart. The Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Mayor, decried
my crimes. In clear agony, I saw their fear. The rack’s
work dragged, dragged, done, the flames crackled
and rose: knees, belly, chest.
law save her now, another child of God, or hear the mother’s
Your child, for instance, mine — her cries
stone-muffled, her eyes open, bones racked
with her Endurance and soon, soft skin used
for a lampshade. . . Divine
light pours like honey on the children — in stripes,
beside the heaped bodies, raked
for shoes, love-tokens, gold fillings. Not a soul leaves
the site: Sunset bird-cry Night Divine.