If you watch a lot of tv, especially critically acclaimed, you might come to suspect that a woman is a pair of tits attached to broken, a hurt circuit flipped again and again. It’s like we get written into believing we are the worst thing ever done to us. So I love how the women in Shakespeare always say exactly what they think is true, and are never only watery bags of damage about to burst all over the scene. When horrible things have been done to them, they want revenge, but not because vengeance is the only taste trauma leaves living in their mouths. Revenge is a word men use for women’s restoration, our way to imagine justice in the world. In the comedies, they get their due and everything returns to harmony with their uncorrupted souls. And when it ends in tragedy, the women stumble on through blood and destruction knowing they witness to the wrong the world has done, roaring that we are all more than would be made of us.
Elizabeth Sylvia (she/her) is a writer of poems and other lists who lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she teaches high school English and coaches debate. Elizabeth’s work is upcoming or has recently appeared in Salamander, Pleiades, Soundings East, J Journal, RHINO, Main Street Rag and a bunch of other wonderful journals. She is currently working on a verse investigation of the writer Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard.