Gentlemen, not one warm ounce of saving blood
remained within my attitude that night.
With such warm approbation did he speak
of her, it was as if a stream had gushed
with gravity and furor to my feet
in one putrescent rush, against my will.
Against my will, believe me — please remember,
I was the ward of celebrated men.
Picture it — evening quasars shining queerly
outside the restaurant glass, on every side
around him as he spoke, his flat reflection
minutely moving in the candlelight:
her pedigree, her purity, her polish...
Imagine, too, I ask you to imagine —
if that is approved, in your prerogative —
the horror of pacific disposition
made hostage to reprising jealousy.
God. God! To be dismissed by one’s own flesh,
no cogent pulse upon which sense might rest.
Each bleak insinuation of his voice —
his peerless voice — each operatic smile
weak cyanide, turning the olive hue
of my complexion green to baleful blue.
I ripped the linen and excused myself
to ladies’ rooms and lilac-bordered mirrors,
where rude reality is viewed through filters,
but even those refused to shock my heart.
A banshee I’d become, as you have heard:
“Hell hath no fury,” gentlemen. You see,
the noxious dead know torture, and a woman
discarded may maintain at pace with these.
Devotion not redressing, she exacts
her payment from the purses of her rivals.
Innocuous, essential, nearly wholesome —
my “subsidy” upon the stupid Earth —
seems Death to me, in reconsideration.
Forgive me then, but without charity,
and with no second chances. Even now,
I feel the chuck of slitting that slim throat
which made him so punch-drunk, and I was charmed
seeing her blood expounded, beat unchecked
across my breast and shoulders. I embraced her
as one would brace a child, as if her pulse
could start my heart again, and I am calmed
even now to know that pulse wastes in the ground.
And if she should return — the world is wide,
so hurry, sirs, to set my lock in stone —
I know my lover’s voice, his mind, his stride.
Should she so much as wink, I won’t think twice.