Julie Steiner


Rattlesnakes Are Reasonable

“Why are we still feeding into the dangerous narrative that the onus is on women to protect themselves from violent men, instead of holding men accountable for harassing, intimidating and harming women? In 2021, why are we still playing the ‘but how short was her skirt’ card?”
—Ali Pantony,
Glamour, commenting on responses to Sarah Everard’s murder

Rattlesnakes are logical.
To safely walk away,
the secret’s nothing magical:
Seem neither threat nor prey.

Rattlesnakes give signs of warning.
Whom should we condemn
if you’re too slow to grasp their meaning?
Surely you, not them.

Rattlesnakes aren’t wayward creatures.
You’re in their domain.
How they act is part of nature’s
plan, so don’t complain.

Rattlesnakes can pierce tight denim.
Not to sound uncaring,
but when a fool gets dosed with venom,
ask what she was wearing.

Rattlesnakes are reasonable.
Use your common sense.
Flaunting flesh is poisonable.
Frump’s your best defense.

Rattlesnakes are not sadistic—
that is the gestalt.
Don’t become a sad statistic.
Do, and it’s your fault.

Rattlesnakes are sensible.
Scorn their hare-brained victims!
To render girls invincible,
perpetuate these dictums.

Full of Sound and Fury

I am the very model of an up-in-arms conservative.
Whatever packs my noggin has been pickled in preservative.
Since all that I was taught was free of flaw or superfluity,
It ought to be imparted to the young in perpetuity.

They ought to know that Hamlet was a Dane and not a Hollander.
The quality of mercy isn’t filtered through a colander.
I get so apoplectic that I almost need a coroner
When canons must accommodate the female and the foreigner.

Though one cannot expect of these the glories educational
I reached myself, consider this: unless their generation’ll
Pick up on the allusions that I drop with such authority,
However will they recognize my own superiority?

When I catch wind that, near or far, some expert pedagogical
Has dared to call unquestioning Bardolatry illogical,
Opining Shakespeare’s pedestal should alter by a particle,
I savage “cancel culture” (though I haven’t read the article).

Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego. Her work appears infrequently, so you were very lucky to happen upon some of it here in Light. She is a longtime member of the online poetry workshop Eratosphere, which harbors a very lively light verse community in an invisible, password-protected portion of its “Drills and Amusements” board. Come on over and see if you can stand us.