Fear is Not the Dragon
but the woman with the silken thread
around the dragon's neck
indulgent of its fleshy wings accordioned
in porous bone--like stays parting silk and rib.
Her nuptial slippers sink into the spongy tundra.
Beneath his claws a kingdom, a lair she came
Preternaturally calm, she offers her prized
to the cloud-eyed knight who,
roiling from a darkness he can't understand,
lances the dragon through his piteous eye
the white steed in impotent conspiracy.
In this, one sides with the beast
she coaxed into the treacherous day
with chthonic chords and promises to search
for limbs the painter omits--two legs
the color of sweet myrtle arustle in the underbrush.
He never thought to whirr away
on his passion fans, to break the silver cord.
Did she of the blood-drained face, blank as vellum
feel a twist of misgiving--suddenly
prefer the scales to a turgid coat of arms?
Palm to sky, she could be seeking mercy
a wish to keep the beast alive
and circling in his den.
The dragon's one good eye is filled with light
he rolls it penitentially
like a hound that ate the dinner fowl
beneath the table crouched. Guardian
of the eternal pearl, perhaps he craved a child
all his own.
Uccello loved him best: it's clear
each drop of dragon blood delicate
and rich, a feast for the heart
a whisper caught in the throat
of the pitchblack cave.
Kim Hamilton is a West Coast poet, writer, and editor. Her work appears in The Atlanta Review, The Mid-American Review, Comstock Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Spillway, and DMQ Review, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best Of the Net. In 2014, she published Visitation, a collaborative work with visual artist Carolyn Krieg. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College.
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