The Small Cowper Madonna by Raphael · Vera Kroms

Perhaps she wishes to unqueen
herself, renounce the halo
and the theologians in their little
rooms, join a chorus
of the washed-up, the zoo
of damage off stage,
where mercy is microscopic
and imperfection is always
in residence.

She can be forgiven
goodness and the flattened
repertoire of her calm face.
Among the bilious
and the foreign, she will feed
a lioness uncurling
in her spine and start
collecting scars the way
she will bring the unbeloved
to the child.

Vera Kroms is the author of the chapbook "Necessary Harm", (Finishing Line Press). Other work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Columbia Journal of the Arts, Southern Poetry Review and others. Vera lives in Boston and has worked as a programmer for many years.