Mrs. Smith, Burned for Praying in Her Own Language
My longing for God is a rustle of paper
in my jacket; held by the elbow,
I’m turned back toward the trial,
where once they spared me only
for being a woman.
I am learning how to watch
a body turn to ash; my children gather
around the hearth to learn the word
of God in a language anyone can speak.
From the pyre, I tell the judge
there is more than one kind of fire.
I tell him I am already burning.