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Biblical Womanhood

By E. R. Skulmoski

Biblical Womanhood

You fabricate me into a fable

of what a woman should be, factory

made with an exuberant facade,

exulting our surroundings with

a beige tone of voice, not too loud,

of course, just enough to fade

into the back row of grey chairs.


When your lover held your cat by his velvet neck, beside the milky white stove & joked

about burning him alive like back in Salem—a blanket of hands reached out,

to cover your pretty mouth. It's just a cat! they said. He is your husband! How can you

be sad about that? So you sat back down with the cracked screen in your hands

& you pleaded with the gods. But we've been married since February & when he gets

angry, he drives a little too quickly. But the gods just laughed & pressed their hands

further, crushing your jaw. You’re being too sensitive. Everyone gets a little angry

sometimes. He is your husband & you are the one who needs repenting.

Then I tried to reach into the pool, to fish you out, but helplessly watched your helpless

self place your hands on the altar—to be cuffed as an offering to god.

A Gentle Answer

A gentle answer turns away wrath

like the low hum of a ceiling fan.

The voice is turned down, quieter than a fan.

It softly buzzes like static in the evening,

fanned out under the evening stars.

Gloved in yellow, she works behind the kitchen stove,

fanning herself in the heat—thankful for her stove.

O how lovely it is for her to smile for her lover.

She nods and bends so he’ll love her.

But harsh words like I have a voice of my own apart from him,

it’s my God-given voice apart from him

—deserves a fucking brick through her windshield.

The brick of God’s word that is,

for a gentle answer turns away wrath.


E. R. Skulmoski was born in Vancouver and raised in Hong Kong. She is a poet and short fiction writer who currently lives in the Interior of British Columbia. She has work published in Ekstasis, Foreshadow Magazine, and Heart of Flesh Literary Journal. You can read more of her work at of is & was.


Please refer to the resources below if you think you or anyone you know might be struggling with domestic abuse:


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