Kathleen Hellen

the lesser questions of magdalen

The Martyr of the Solway by John Everett Millais

Who stood apart from cowards,
not weeping at the cross as in the paintings
by medievals? Who towered over fishes?
I saw the Lord, she said, before they hauled her
to the Pharisees, conscripted her to footnote.
One of three who wiped his feet, fetched
water. Neither mother, sister. Who said she
talked too much, got in the way of dialogue?
What vigilante pope ravaged fragments of a codex?


About the writer:
Kathleen Hellen’s honors include prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, and her winning collection Umberto’s Night (Washington Writers’ Publishing House). Her work was featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Hellen’s latest poetry collection is The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin (Saddle Road Press).

Image: The Martyr of the Solway by John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Oil on canvas. 70.5 x 56.5 cm. 1871. Public domain.