by Dori Hartley
Once for the beast, twice for the shudder of his protest and thrice for good measure – a triple knot gag, my choke hold and collar. I am the master of my house, and these walls are of lead, they are as dead as my heart, but my heart is not of this world.
I’ve known my own severity, it dries me like a note left to crisp on a fire; where the tricks of my trade made sticks slide and numbers wet, wet as a distant prompt – I set you up, I wound your gears, I bridged the gap and filled it with blood.
But the recipe called for mine alone, deny the droning cacophonous dread and listen not to the sound and pound of my beating heart, my eyes betray, look away, you may not respect me, please – look away.
Subtler still than the hint of mineral in a babbling brook, I flare for you despite the knot that should be quad-quintupled, hex on my hide, my teeth taste like hate but burning I am, alive – you have entered me in atomic solutions, prismatic refractions deep in my lungs.
It is there you grew and made me your host, the ghost of hope stood threatened, shrieking – I heard the bellows, you heard only melody. A hundred coiled revolutions of this silken tie would not keep me strangled, my face full and flush.
The poison root which fed my spine allowed me taste, and figs and bone, artichoke spikes, pomegranate, beet and wild game, your name akin to desire. My venom food for your fire.
And like all the things that put me here, I am all the things that will last forever, and you, your quantum rush is a thing I will bind to me, deeply beneath my sevenfold necktie, forgiven.
I am not of this world, nor might I ever be judged by a rule that pertains to a fool’s paradise, but fallen I am, disgraced by my love for the mortal who broke me. I will reflect myself back in the thousand shards of the mirror you shattered, no matter, the rain, like God, licks me clean.