We don’t have very many contemporary poems that are curses, but it’s a genre that fascinates me. Here is one from the Paris Review daily poems:

To Her Husband for Beating Her

Through your heart’s lining let there be pressed—slanting down—
.                                  A dagger to the bone in your chest.
.                                  Your knee crushed, your hand smashed, may the rest
.                                  Be gutted by the sword you possessed.

(Translated from the Middle Welsh of Gwerful Mechain by A. M Juster)

from the book WONDER & WRATH / Paul Dry Books

also appeared in Rattle

From Paris Review

Sometimes just scrolling through poems that pepper my inbox can seem a chore, but once in awhile, one captures my attention. This morning it was this:


There is a falling of hair, continuous upon the earth.
And the sweepers sweep it away with their long brooms—
away, where mice retrieve it to line their nests,
or it bountifully curls around eyeless Styrofoam skulls,
or is stitched to the sanctified undervests of masochists.
Though bald men pray for miraculous restoration,
though ladies choke back tears as they tip their beauticians,
it fulfills its function through infinite faithlessness.
So if it is true that I must live without you, stranded
here in the land of good behavior, I begrudge my hair nothing,
I send it victorious into the world, even though
you braided it one night with your hands whose touch
I pretend to remember, braided it the whole length,
tight as you could, just to let it go.

Claire Bateman

Usually I email poets to ask permission to reprint their poems, but I couldn’t find an email for Claire.  You can reed more of her poems here.