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For Her Villain by Grace Bauer


For Her Villain

by Grace Bauer

(published in the anthology, Villanelles, edited by Annie Finch

and Marie-Elizabeth Mali, 2012)


The time that she wastes missing him is hell,

though no one banks a fire that has grown cold.

And so she thinks she'll write this villanelle.


Though forms are things she doesn't handle well

she thinks that forcing pain into a mold

of verse might help free her from the hell


of missing him. If only she could tell

the truth from all the lies that have been told

and make sense of it in this villanelle


her heart might open like a prison cell

and she might be released from the long hold

he's had on her. Not holding him is hell.


She tries to tell herself it's just as well.

That even if love could be bought and sold

it would cost her more than this cheap villanelle.


In this vignette, she plays the helpless Nell

tied to the tracks or stranded in the cold.

And like a dark-eyed demon straight from hell

he plays the villain. Here's his villanelle.


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