Soren Kierkegaard once said Martin Luther
might as well have married a “wooden plank”

Katherine, Kette, hidden
in herring barrels, driven
into town to hunt a husband,

of all the renegade nuns, so young,
eyes roving from the cloister,
she refused to be “placed,”
so you wed her.

Doctor Hammer-in-Hand,
you were never a “sexless log,”
six children and a hoard of orphans
clustered in the Black Cloister

homestead. Nowadays, Katie’d be
a keeper – queen of sustainable
living, herbal magician, urban
gardener, butcher, shearer,
nurse and teacher, she’s worth
her weight in backyard chickens,

pecking like the flick of sinner’s fire,
the halting promises of reformation,
the 90-odd things that still need to change.

Renee Emerson is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press, 2016). She received her MFA in poetry from Boston University.

Image of Katarina von Bora (detail): Lucas Cranach the Elder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons