They say she was wicked and vain,
that perhaps she was ugly and ill,
with no beauty to show. They say
she may not have been a woman at all.

And had she danced nude for the king
one knows what one would say:
that this queen had no shame,
she deserved to be cast away.

To be Vashti, free for that flash of time, 
or Esther who was chained, sold off
to save her life and her tribe,
after Vashti stood up for herself . . .


Maia Evrona is a poet, writer and translator of Yiddish literature.