What Happens When a Woman Says ‘Yes’ to God? In a grocery store in Mississippi waiting for the steaks and strawberries to inch forward, a black conveyor belt, a flimsy book rack catches my eye, paperbacks for Christians strategically placed for the impulse buy. One title, in particular, rivets: “What Happens When Women Say ‘Yes’ to God.” (There are no books telling us what happens to the men.) I wonder about this. Exactly what does happen when a woman says “Yes” to God? Is this something spiritual? Or something else? Zeus disguises himself as a white bull, a beating of feathers, a rain of gold. Eve is stripped of her clothes. She promises not to eat apples. Isis chokes on the flesh of her brother. The Virgin Mary defends her swollen belly. Guan Yin loses her children. Somewhere in Venice a courtesan is made to dance on water. Whispering Aramaic a prostitute washes men’s feet with her hair. I tell myself that this book exists only because there is a grocery store here in Mississippi where the checkout girl was forced to go to church from an early age, a simpler place where we can all rest assured she’s been taught all she needs to know about Eve’s problem with fruit where she learns to pass the meat and the strawberries back to the sack boy. In just a few days I will return to my own home in one of the largest cities in the United States. I will have tickets waiting for my favorite ballet. But even there, nightly, in the grandest of theatres, God-like, the great sorcerer, Rothbart, beats his grackle wings over a pitch black lake. The audience, breathless, has paid to see a white swan turned into a woman against her will. The next day Spring. White jasmine scales the fence and Notre Dame de Paris bursts into flame.
Gabrielle Langley released her first book of poetry, Azaleas on Fire, in March of 2019. She has received the Lorene Pouncey Award, Houston Poetry Fest’s Jury Prize, the Vivian Nellis Memorial Prize, and three Pushcart prize nominations. With poetry appearing in a variety of literary journals, Ms. Langley was also a spearhead and co-editor for the anthology Red Sky: Poetry on the global epidemic of violence against women (Sable Books – 2016). Additional information about this poet can be found at www.gabriellelangley.com.