April 2023 MoonBite-Women Have Always Said “I’m Sorry”

Women have always said “I’m sorry” 
(Marie Antoinette)


(It is said)
after her graceful walk
all dressed in white
she politely apologized
to her executioner
for stepping
on his foot


Nine-month prison
gestation to this guillotine
her young son used against her
did she get to hold 
his confused face in her hands 
when Louis
trudged first?


Hair shocked white
no more need for powder
bread insurrection mob
demanding to be fed
found her hide and seek
cowering in her decorated corner


Every diamond sparkling chandelier 
Every perfectly swooped filigree  
Every golden lacquered trim 
Every embroidered thick thread 
Every soft velveted mantle 
Every intricate brocaded wall
Every curled ornate mirror


Under arched fresco cherub ceilings
stretched by the hall of mirrors
she gazed at herself here
her every surface swooped
bejeweled and brocaded
flowered and powdered
chandelier wig of ships


It is easy to forget
before angry peasants
stormed their cobblestone streets
before their banging 
on the Bastille Fortress
her voice created gardens
carved corset tightened
trimmed proper polite 
uniform greenery


Yet, there are the thrashing 
horses spraying wild water
in all directions
unbridled, unleashed
masquerade fantasies
secret smiles


Also, the hobbit sized door
providing temporary escape from 
frosting fabrics, lace trellises 
cream champagne, lip pink strawberries
jeweled easter candy garters
lemon yellow amusements
hushed baby blue macaron silk fans


Away from the golden encrusted Queen
they dressed her to be each day
away from the tarnished reputations 
conjured by 18th century
scandal rags and Paparazzi
smacking her across her cheeks
until they turned into
peeled open rotten sardines


How dare she and her cake
how dare a 14-year-old
Austrian girl who struggled to write
who barely spoke French
whose crooked teeth 
must be fixed through 
a jaw bone corset


How dare she
and every woman who
recognizes themself 
when she steps
on her own executioner’s foot
and whispers Pardon
Je Suis de ’sole
I’m sorry

About the Author:

Amanda Hayden is Poet Laureate for Sinclair College and Professor of Humanities, Philosophy, and Religions (emphasis in Indigenous, Eastern, and Environmental Studies), receiving several pedagogy awards, including the SOCHE Award (2017) and the League for Innovation Teaching Excellence Award (2020). Her chapter, Saunter Like Muir: Experience Projects in Environmental Ethics was recently published by Routledge (2022) in Eco pedagogies: Practical Approaches to Experiential Learning. In addition to writing: Windy Chicken Farm Animal Rescue, her poems have been featured in Voices of Real by Poetry is Life Press, Carnation Collection by Wild Ink Publishing, Angela Yurko Smith’s Publisher’s Showcase and Stripes Literary Magazine. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript about European travel. She lives with her family on a small farm with three dogs, two cats, two goats, seven pigs, many chickens, and a duck named Dorothy.


Image credits: historical images available through a partnership between museums and open acess. All images are in the public domaine and are licensed under the Creative Commons License. Graphic Design by Teresa Berkowitz.

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