Frances Boyle

They are animals. I feel no sorrow
at their wails: imported noble ladies, soldiers
turned farmers. Their gods abandon them.

I give you war, daughters
I give you vengeance.

For your birthright, lost by a father’s weakness.
For stripes laid on my flesh. For crueler
wounds I felt as you, young girls still, were taken,
then discarded by foul conquerors.

Their false victory of carved stone
crashes to the ground in fear of my wrath

Visions stroll their cities, built on land stolen
from our neighbours. We’ve slain multitudes,
muddied the packed earth with their blood.

I give you strength. Fearsome together, we three,
our yells, knives on our wheels, chill their hearts.

The enemy legion takes its final stand, woods
at their backs. Our only approach—straight
into their swords. We do not prevail.

Take this and drink, daughters. We
are not defeated.

Frances Boyle has written two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019), as well as Seeking Shade, a short story collection (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-infused novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions 2018). She is a Best of the Net nominated author, living in Ottawa, whose writing has appeared throughout North America and in the U.K. Recent and forthcoming publications include work in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Humana Obscura, Feral, Event, Parentheses Journal, Prairie Fire and Dreich. Visit  for more.