in the kingdom

my dog uses urine

like an empire would a flag

as if he says, “With this drop

I claim this land for the royal line

of Spaniel. No Labrador or Terrier

may henceforth enter.”

He cares not for the nests

of rabbits who found the ground

first, used it to spawn young life

and this reminds me

of all the firsts—

how us young girls

our names still marked by teen

would steal the virginities

of friends

our masculine counterparts

how we would use our anatomy

as a map claiming victory

stealing pistols off these men

as if collecting feathers

you see

we had been in the kingdom of men

so long

we needed something

to fight our war.

© Julie Bolitho. “in the kingdom,” Poem. The Vein. The Vein press: 2013, online edition found at:

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