Poetry – "Danse Macabre"

Danse Macabre
by Jennifer Patino

Piercing eyes & intellect
Colored tones determine
   states of instability
His irises are unmatched,
He opens his mouth & bats 
   fly out
They flutter around her &
   she is unflinching,

He knows her by her reading
He hides in the caverns &
   in the nooks & crannies
   of her fragile mind
& waits until all is clear
& she is alone,
A white dove, shivering
He stokes her fire in silence,
A pre-offering to the dead

To her, the darkness is
His voice, a familiar undertone
Tired of talking,
   she’d rather be dancing
This devil is extending
   his hand

Two twirls around the dance
He captures her in his stare
Death can be enraptured 
   by beauty 
Evil can fall in love
Purity is sacrificed
   in his swift seduction
But she willingly gives it up
He can’t be kept
She can’t stop the tears
   of anger as he leaves her
One page of parchment
   & a dagger
He fooled her with faux frailty 
Urges her to take her own life
   as he had taken her innocence
   because sullied &
   scorned would not suit her
She makes but one slice
   on her arm to remember
   him by & vows his
   blood to be spilt
The last drop drawn 
   by the dagger would be
The Master created a Murderess:
   The dagger,
   her blood; Life,
   her tears
   fall to the ground
The embers in the fire
   hearth pop & hiss
The only sound

She follows him far & wide
Always just one step
She isn’t the only one
   seeking the serpent
But the only one who’s hatred
   left her blind
If only his eyes would
   leave her
If only his words weren’t
   choked in her throat
Forgiveness tried hard to
   deceive her
But he was there
   on the edge
Dancing on the helm of a
This devil extended
   his hand

Treacherous tango
   with no leader
   stifling & closer
   to the hellfire 
They’d have to face their
   punishment together
Eternal suffering was
   his delighted smile as
   she wrapped her arms
   around him & heaved
   her sins along with him
   into the pit,

But he slips

She watches as he plummets
   into the orange glow
   & wonders if evil
   is more combustible 
   than goodness

The dagger was only necessary
   to save her life as she uses
   it to hoist herself out
Fire is thicker than
The soot-faced dove doesn’t
   cry now; She laughs as 
   the monster dies with a pop
   & a snake’s last hiss

Author’s Note: This poem was inspired by Constance & Diogenes, characters from the Pendergast novels by Preston & Child. I’ve been reading the series lately & a lot of the themes in the books have been coming out in my writing. 

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