by Karen R. Porter

She sleeps with fire,
luring whispers drawing
blood through needles
in her eyes. Her death
is not a horrid one, as
death goes. Silent,
she will come in the stalking night
with a rose and dagger
in milk pale hands
pulled from voluminous folds
of velvet and of glass.
Each breath you take
is an answer to her calling.
Every frozen shudder
tumbling from the mouth of
sleep caters to her burning words.
In ancient caravanserai where
demons greedily licked themselves,
her face was known. And in the
frozen mountain passes of the
Silk Route, in warm Etruscan
towns, in crumbling Anasazi
villages her visage glowered
at midnight, harboring ill,
lips slowly parting as
she kissed her loves to death.

Published in Not One of Us #30, September 2003

Poem note from the author:

This went through several stages, having even been called “He” at one point. I see her as one of the ancient ones’Äîpredatory, always with us, human but not quite human, a beautiful and enduring destroyer.

Her image was somewhat influenced by Suzanne Vega’s song “Solitude Standing,” from the 1987 album of the same name. Here’s a snippet of that song:

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame.