warrior princess

Rhea Manley

you have been reading some things 
and you are pretty sure you are a feminist. 

one day you wake up, and shakespeare
cannot be about juliet anymore.
your new tragic heroine is ophelia, or cleopatra
you could die for grief, or honour but not
for some fly by night, hot-headed, cousin-killing
boy.

perhaps it started with that dust jacket blurb
you read, as woman in chains played on
the stereo and you discovered the song was,
in part, about the female spirit in men the patriarchy 
suppresses, to everyone’s demise.

you decide: this mess will not be my lot.
it goes well until you meet the mottled men,
drop praises on the antonys and hamlets 
who in return drop icicle daggers
perchance not really meaning to hurt you.

Rhea Manley has lived in Jamaica for most of her life, except for when she studied for her B.A in Literature in rainy Portland, Oregon at Lewis and Clark College. She has always enjoyed writing and was shortlisted for the 2019 Poet Laureate of Jamaica Edward Baugh Prize for Poetry.  She has worked in a range of roles in education and continues to do so. 

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