For a brief moment,
anyone’s hold could have brought peace.
It was the brightest
and, for many, the last dawn.

Where fiery jaws do not gnaw
on the newly barren ground, a maiden,
with seemingly calm cadence, inhales
the toxic morning as it swims
about her midnight-blue kimono.
Her bare feet are unsure of the road.
Her eyes, once the envy of stars,
are crystalline before the earthly hell.
Her hair, an eerie but emollient black, sways
to the wind’s now searing air.
Her lips, gone from bloody carmine
to a subtle peach, quiver as though sullied
by another stolen kiss.
Her skin of diaphane, which betrays
the faintest blush, is untouched
by the empyrean strike.

Yet by nightfall, she will see
the white leaves and yellow blossoms
on her dress with scions forever etched
on the silken plains along her spine.

She is watched from afar: that distance
only the coward can measure.
Safe in an airborne womb, they chant
the vespers of death, and on altars
where palimpsests pledge the world
to the primal void:
By rivulets of ink, flesh has to burn.
By a nod, a world has to sink.
Thus, in a blink, nothing
can again be called, beloved.
They applaud, and she hears
the rumble of falling debris.

The end had whispered at 1,900 feet
for a merrier kill against the day.

Montage Vol. 11 • September 2008


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