Rose Mary Boehm

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The Poet

She’d seen the young cowherd.
Someone had called him ‘poet’,
said he recited long words
and sentences to the ruminants
on the high meadows.
It was like chanting, they said,
incantations perhaps.
And his cows produced more milk
than anyone had ever seen.

She saw that he was beautiful.
‘Why are you herding?’
She knew, of course, but needed
his attention.
‘It’s a job,’ he said.
‘Aren’t you lonely?’
‘I’m no good with people,’ he answered,
There was nothing to say to that.

The girl had been too shy to speak
until the cowherd lifted her
with his beauty.
He had been content
until she vexed him
with her question.

Sunday School

He said it would be our secret.
When he touched me there
it hurt and made me feel
like when Josh and I played doctors
behind the tool shed.
And he said it was God’s will;
because that’s what girls are made for
and who best but him to teach
me how to pray in the right position.
When he pulled down my knickers
he said he just wanted to see
whether the devil
had already made himself at home.

German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and three poetry collections, her work has been widely published in US poetry reviews (online and paper). It took her 15 years before she dared to write in English, and another 10 before writing poetry again.