“I’ll Have a Virgin Mint Julep” by Judith Skillman

He said, and that
set the stage,
loud Christmas music
played through speakers:
Silent Night, Ho-
ly night, all is
calm, all is bright.

The virgin birth
necessary.
Fallen world, he
said, and hovered
at my side. Up
till four, couldn’t
find the best ones

his late mother
took before
the stroke blacked out
her brain. She left
quickly, a wave
from ambulance
and gone. Virgin
in her refusal
to talk about
his father’s jaunts
around the world,
the affairs she knew
about though she
never showed it.
Virgin because
no one believes
a man can rape
a woman and
she can forget
it for years.
Take Bill Cosby,
but what about
men in numbers
taking cities
by force, and boats,
really anything
at all a man
wants to have for
his own pleasure.
Virgin because
at least once, one
time simply, pure-
ly, a woman
conceived. This would
be the savior.
Unsullied by sex
and its rami-
fications, un-
putrefied by
a guy who left
once he’d had his
way with softness,
with flesh. I thought
of the word rimmed
as in, he rimmed
her
—he’d used that
phrase—in acting.
Nativity
scenes aside, who
thinks the Virgin
Mary wasn’t
entered into, defiled,
vandals coming at dark.
Think of the storms
named for girls.
The ships, the cars.
Jugs of champagne
held sidewise, flung
against the bow
for good luck don’t
fool anyone.
Innocent girl?
The mint, the fizz
rises right out
of religion.

JudithSkillmanJudith Skillman is the author of House of Burnt Offerings from Pleasure Boat Studio. She is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in many journals, including FIELD, The Southern Review, and Poetry. Her ‘how to’ is Broken Lines—The Art & Craft of Poetry. Skillman does collaborative translations of poems from Italian, Portuguese, and French. Visit www.judithskillman.com.

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