The Wizard's Gift
It came in a box.
Death wrapped in red foil
and silver ribbon
glowing with night's own light,
the dark knowing of its nature.
The wind brought her stiff broom
to sweep the air clean of brimstone stink
but you stood and laughed and reeked
in the midnight sun.
You wore those solemn robes
like stiff wings freshly feathered.
A pretense of hooded eyes cerulean blue
smirked compassion through the snarl of
each jetblack lash, yet under your
velvet calm was a constant rustling.
Anyone not spellbound in tranced oblivion
would see the barbed tailtip of your starved familiar
thrashing with a scorpion's steel sharp sting.
You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
set sailing in the devil's brandyglass.Windtossed I watched the mousemaid's fallen tear
grow the deepest pool in a black moon-strangled grove
where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free
and one absent swipe rang the raven's dinner bell.
Down down went the chambered shell
to the scarlet aquifer;
you curved your fingered claws over my white hand
until they twined
and flowed together as grains of sand
merge in a dune indistinguishable
and we pulled the fullness up
to our glittering husks from the butcher's well
to drink together the bloodred wine of hell.
I'm the host tonight at the pub for our usual poetic festivities. Come join us in the cool and bring a well-chilled word or two to cut the summer heat.
If you'd like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:
Image: The Wizard, by Edward Burne-Jones
Public Domain, via Wikipaintings.org