“Fire Escape” © Bonnie Matthews Brock


The ballad of “everything happens for a reason”

Things of the past:

Saints in rags,
see right through them
like ghosts in the night.

Heaven-sent virgins,
unspoiled by age or rage.
What lucky man will vie
for her pot of honey,
pop open her vagina
for a seventh son of a seventh son,
and conveniently forget her
when he displays his family pride?
She’s got a roof over her head.
She will have a bright future
as a meddlesome nag
nobody wants to listen to,
possessing knowledge of trivia
that serves no one well.

Let’s revive the beauty pageant
for a glorious sight of her thigh.
If she can sing and cook as good as she looks,
then she has it maid. Get the drift?

Spot on; we are all stained,
married or not,
experienced or not.

Say hay;
hay is for horses.
A horse is a nag
A nag is what a woman is called
who bears the weight of the world on her back,
and won’t shut up about it.
Let her reclaim nag
for the hours she put in
for scant pay.
Let her wear her stain,
like Hester Prynne did,
and go about her business
and make some poor fool suffer.

Everything happens for a reason you say.
Got to hold on to what is yours.


Mary Jennings is a poet and musician transplanted from Boston to the Happy Valley of western Massachusetts. She is currently serving as a member of the Chicopee Cultural Council, the city in which she currently resides.

Bonnie Matthews Brock is a Florida-based photographer, as well as school psychologist. She enjoys capturing raw single-capture photos of a wide variety of subjects, and learning and experimenting with shooting techniques such as long-exposure and intentional camera movement, as well as with editing methods. You can find Bonnie’s images on the covers of publications such as Ibbetson Street, Poesy Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal, and on the pages of Oddball Magazine, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Ember Chasm Review, Beaver Magazine, and Unstamatic. Her works are archived at institutions such as Poets House NYC, Brown University, University of Buffalo, and Harvard University.