Rather than a church prison with nun guards, a military prison held me. I tied my soldier’s clothes tightly round my body with dozens of cords to protect myself. There is no record of what they did to me. But, are such records kept. Frustrated that I could not be broken, the tribunal used my clothes against me. The military clothes I wore to lead the French army to victory over England at Orléans. Those clothes were the basis of the charge that I dressed like a man. What is it to be dressed like a man. Were my captors dressed thusly or were they dressed as rapists. Executioners. The English, their French collaborators, the Burgundians took me to the marketplace in Rouen and burned me at the stake before a crowd estimated at 10,000. I was 19 years old. Some 30 years later, the people of France declare me innocent of all charges. Designate me a martyr. 500 years later, they canonize me. My heart survived the fire unaffected. I am no one’s saint, but my father Jacques’ and my mother Isabelle’s steadfast daughter.
Jami Macarty is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Minuses (February 2020) in The Mountain/West Poetry Series, published by The Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, and three chapbooks of poetry: Instinctive Acts (Nomados Literary Publishers, 2018), Mind of Spring (Vallum Chapbook Series, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award, and Landscape of The Wait (Finishing Line Press, 2017). She teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University, mentors writers privately, and edits the online poetry journal The Maynard.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan