Hannah Dow

What I Didn’t Know at 23

When he came along preaching 
all the good news he could 
deliver me, I said yes
to his leather saddlebags 
and yes to his Blessed Virgin 
tattoo. I said yes to his dark 
wine and his clever tongue. 
I was taught to pray 
for my enemies long before 
I had any notion of one,
so when he came along 
I didn’t recognize the difference 
between a coiled snake and a halo. 
I was never taught to pray 
for useful things—how to stop
a man from driving you drunk,
licking all the sweetness from 
your mouth, or promising diamonds 
when your hands are full of glass. 

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Hannah Dow is the author of Rosarium (Acre Books). Her poems have recently appeared in Shenandoah, Image, The Southern Review, Pleiades, and The Cincinnati Review, among others. She received the Cream City Review Summer Prize in Poetry, selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Hannah resides in Northwest Arkansas and is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Missouri Southern State University.