116 THE MISSOURI REVIEW • SPRING 2020VII.
We dreamt of a love outside of proprietaryrights, the subtle tyranny in the habendumclause, “to have and to hold,” in the contractsfor land and slaves, water rights and wives.Many women, you said, don’t realize they mustdirect their fate. But if you are your own master
—you stirred bouillon into the boiling pot—then there’s no need to offer your body as dailyremittance for safety or children, the leisureto love in a suburban kitchen, in a quaint townwith low crime rates, good schools. To livewithout mortgaged desire, to husband yourown strength, to take or dismiss lovers fromyour own sweet bed by the court and juryof your own opinion, to have and to holdyour body without lien or claim, boot or bankor another’s name, to depend on no man—take it from me, kid, from this chrome chair,habendum is freedom, that diamondtippedobsidian, that most feared thing: a woman’smind without border, box, or ceiling. Measureyour loves by how they espouse your licenseto live with nothing hid or hindered, halved,withheld: largesse that never leaves you less.