She was twenty-two. He was fifty-three,
a duke, a widower with ten children.
They met in Paris, each in exile from
the English Civil War. Virginal
and terrified, still she agreed
to marry him. Though women were mere chattel
spinsterhood made you invisible
in the sixteen hundreds. Marriage was arranged
— hers a rare exception. Despite a dowry
a woman never could own property.
Your womb was just for rent. Birth control
contrivances — a paste of ants, cow dung