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Fox Frazier-Foley

Erzsébet Báthory Learns Her Aristocratic Family's Concepts of Justice as a Young Girl, When a Peasant Who Sold His Daughter into Slavery is Executed Before Her

I never saw her, nor her noble
buyer                but for her

purchase like a loaf
or goat
we sewed

him into warm
slit belly
of horse.

It brayed    weakening    kicked
I saw her then   laced with a bit

he squirmed inside, it lay
chuffing for death

he spun within I saw her
twisting in rope            enveloped by hot

what does a man want with buying a girl

riding home  I stared, bared my too-
wide eyes through the windows of the coach

an unkindness consuming carrion     far from road

I remembered my father handing me a flower: blue tulle

petals like a paternal kiss
like the calm   absence of need

like the power to say, Hush. All shall be well.

Erzsébet Báthory Is Impregnated by Her Peasant Lover During Her Early Teenage Years, and Is Forced to Watch His Execution, Then Is Sequestered for Nine Months; Her Infant Daughter Is Taken from Her at Birth and Smuggled Away

he was my one   pure
carried me


to bed


to the window

to watch him torn

to listen            the dogs

to a hazier



& back

here           Lucifer's clear yard of a world

to the never
looking away   to the looking

glass                  to brush

my own white face   my own bitten

lips   my own dark   hair my   own darkened eyes  my own dark   now


Erzsébet Báthory Inflicts Increasingly Harsh Physical Punishments for Any Perceived Transgressions, Treating Each as a Brazen Affront to Her Authority, and Develops a Cruel Taste for Power

and gasping wildly

self-preservation a severe  & austere art    I find
myself     fairer with each

artery   cut

severed  /  as ever:  grace

so bodies curve & splay
what sprays saved                Never so much

as a bath  my bright

alabaster basin another stained
serf        my shadow  my touch my

transforming                           erase:

they are     voided        made my own

polished, luminous
as a hollowed bone

fair as a duckling's
first sticky

down   my yes

the first
fat & lasting

flake caught by a cold
welcoming tongue

Erzsébet Báthory Writes, "You Will Find a Man in Me," to Her Aggressors, and Punishes Transgressors Severely, Even as She Intercedes on Behalf of Other Women, Including Assault Victims

noble the stubborn
horse collapsed        but will
when whipped    rise   & run again

lovely the punch
-yellow petals    converting to cloud   & burst
out in a dance of breath     enviable
finale of further beget

as a child, I held her
many carved faces  red-clad      onyx-faired
each body  pregnant  with another

I am the noblest
blow: bearing final
peace   the deepest

felt frost settling
ground to its true
barren brown               Inside

my smallest
doll's belly: a bullet
plump as spring.
I am the barrel
through which it screams
once. The quickened
click bend. I am the powder
& furnace that forges
the smoke of your
hot metal end.

Erzsébet Báthory, Barred from Attending Her Own Trial, Is Convicted and Walled Inside a Series of Rooms for Four Years Until Her Death

one   stone                     &another         winter

air   spiked  grey      by breath  /   my heart:

sparrows    over  slate-iced lake

beneath leaden sky.      Each

page    less

legible     my fine

dress    torn   toneless.  What

dusted  heather:    each colder

finger  folding   in desperate

unwilled prayer        each greying

nail    one   small

stone              and then another

Erzsébet Báthory, Blood Countess, Is Said to Sometimes Visit Young Women Bathing Alone at Night, Centuries After Her Recorded Death

I find myself.  Invited: sliding dark
locks   nape to collar-
bone, bare

shoulder a lake
blanketed in early
snow  & those  blue

threads laced     racing
fluid beneath luminescent

slash is uncomely grime, gash   common-torn
crime.      Slit, that's
better-brushed     slice

is sweet    slide see how it
flows       soaring from you like one

unfolding   underwater
wing     & nothing
so endless comforting     as    me     sliding

in     to      you

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