My Conscience is a Fog

—a contrapuntal in the voice of Marie Lafarge[1]

Opaque as a poorly made engagement.                                            

Dense as my desire to be a good wife.

Cut callous as rutilated quartz.                                           

Suspended between matrimony and martyrdom.

I’ve trudged through the lust of a loveless marriage.

                                                                        I’ve traveled the sore forest of sympathy.

There’s always inheritance powder’s insistence.

                                                               There’s always the fairer weather of forgiveness, but—

Arsenic is a quick mist to shift through—

                                                                        it would be a painful death—

so other pains could be put to rest.


[1] Marie Lafarge was a French woman accused of poisoning her husband Charles by lacing his fruitcake with arsenic after he conned her into marriage under the false pretense of being a millionaire. She was the first person to be convicted of murder using forensic toxicological evidence in 1840.

Emily Paige Wilson is the author of the forthcoming full-length collection Jalubí (Unsolicited Press, 2022) and two chapbooks: Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods (Glass Poetry Press, 2020) and I’ll Build Us a Home (Finishing Line Press, 2018). Her work has been nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. Connect with her at www.emilypaigewilson.com and @Emmy_Golightly.