She turns her green face over her shoulder,
winks at our corner
(laughing, we sip our champagne.)
She sways over the tiles
of the dance floor, some doomed private
in her arms. The Dead travel fast.
It is the eve of W.W. I. “Let me go,
the world is bobbing around.” Later,
she sits on his bed, her arms an X
between her knees. Balloon-like shadows
float around her head…an airy tiara
where the bombs explode. “Did I not
kiss him? Or did I tear him to pieces?
If I did, it was a mistake; for kissing
is close to biting, and whoever loves
with her whole heart might mistake the one
for the other.” Ashes: he remembers her
as he falls. A foreign boot rests
on his face; that music, where could it
be coming from? Goya knew the secret–
there’s his owl in the Disasters Of War
sucking a soldier’s breath:
Vampires trouble us.
Mothers grow fangs in their dreams. The world
is Transylvania; we’re rocking in a charmed coach
rushing to the mindless interview. Dare we open
the blinds? Watch the rats poke their snouts
in the guts of unfortunate youths
who lie in each other’s arms, holding
earth and sky apart with bloated stomachs?
They blend with the darkening fields; her kiss
cancels out their features.
At night they return–scratch at our window
with eyes like polished tin; fingernails
grown into ram’s horns, they smash a leaded pane,
insert a luminous hand and open the balcony door.
We are held in her arms again. Her red hair
touches our cheeks; unblinking eyes focus
on our throats. It is the eve of W.W.II.
Lightning cracks across the sky. Gaunt musicians
saw their bows. We dance our murderous dance
(History is a cage)–
Beneath her chalky flesh the skeleton shuffles and begs.
Words and picture by Jesse Glass
Picture Mask 1