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Katherine Howard Rehearses

M. Cynthia Cheung | Poetry

“Katherine Howard…proved to have been not of pure and honest living…an unchaste woman…[therefore] guilty of high treason.”

-Bill of attainder passed against the fifth queen of Henry VIII, 11 February 1542

I am seventeen this year, and what

do I count as my own?

Last week the girls and I stayed up late, talking

trends: skinny versus boy-

friend, pre-med versus law. God

or no God. My girls

said, It’s only a note. Tell him

how you really feel. But I worry

that if I say love, I might mean

happiness, and how would I ever

go back? Already it’s hard

to imagine what I’ll be in a year.

Sometimes I take my silver

scissors and cut I

was here into the trees.

When I fall asleep, everything looks

backwards in the dream-mirror—

my neck thinner, my throat

a pink pulse. I, a body

becoming its parts, open

and close my unlucky holes.