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‘They say suffering is noble’ by Erin Slaughter

— Hannah Cohen

knock three times bring flowers wear / thorns

A short-ish poem that relies on the forward slash as hesitation markers, ‘They say suffering is noble’ urges you to reconsider every word between “/”, adding double meanings to every small phrase. The most masterful line is definitely what were / you trying to say before / I cut you, which effectively demonstrates the poem’s focus on a woman’s body and its violences (see the clever use of the word “violets”). There’s so much sensational imagery and feeling to unpack: “old hunger”, “fierce glistening”, and “woman = door” to name a few. Slaughter isn’t here to answer any questions, as evidenced by the damning question mark that ends the poem. You have to suffer through every line and even then it won’t be enough.

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