by Hannah Lee Jones
As when once at dawn two dragons duel
in a meadow, their keepers mad.
Blood stains their scales black and yellow.
A temple bell rung by the moon’s marked climb
hangs like the dead, and a king rises
from slumber to read his scrolls by its light.
His queen: the captive scribe who grinds his ink.
Their servants the exploded rays
of every hour they keep their robes.
How whitely they whisper to one another
in notes of bitter herbs – their lips bearing
all that’s been writ large
or small in the shallows of their skin.
His eyes aloft on the wind.
Her fingers weary with language.
Their silences poured along the ground
like so much pine smoke
while their burning brims over, labors long.
As when once at dusk I go to a grove
to meet my life’s two takers,
and they come to keep their vows,
and death sends word.
Yes, Poetry (forthcoming, late July)