Jacquelyn “Jacsun” Shah, “Dark Lady”

Jacquelyn “Jacsun” Shah has an A.B. English, Rutgers University; M.A. English, Drew University; M.F.A. and Ph.D. English literature/creative writing–poetry, University of Houston. Her publications include a chapbook: small fry; full-length book: What to Do with Red; and poems in journals such as Rhino, Blue Unicorn, Gyroscope Review, Plath Profiles. She was the winner of Literal Latté’s 2018 Food Verse Contest and has received grants from the University of Houston and the Houston Arts Alliance. Jacsun is an outlier, iconoclast, atheist, feminist, and pacifist.

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Dark Lady

. . . saucy jacks so happy . . .
Give them thy finger[s] . . .
Shakespeare, Sonnet CXXVIII

Black as beetle-backs, her eyes and heart
that’s cankered to a pock; keen squad of glit-
terings, her brain; cheeks and lips are part
obsidian, part liver-brown. A pit,
grave throat, you dare not enter,
where deep down a twisted licorice string
of fiendish words is ready as a panther,
set––watch out!––to crouch   hiss   spring!

For centuries all comebacks were contained;
her rectitude, well-practiced as defined;
all movements in the sphere constrained.
She was the bard’s: mute   inert   kind.
Now note this––her breaking of a sound-
lessness, its winding sheet unwound.

No more lessness! Nothing but more   more
and even more sound. Dark, yes, but never ladylike,
the words that mean to arrow-streak and strike
with truths unspeakable, which will be spoken more and more.

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