In this red-walled room, among rare hibiscus
Tense, flushed, the floor strains,
Chambered, flowing, this my old sulking-place,
Celled, slowed, cruor—
And I, the princeling
Of this city singing, lithe and lithesome
Dancer. Drawn up from the pin,
Raveled, a radiant
Scarlet thread, fine in thin light. A daughter.
Tonight, to be damasked, this bed
Bitter hyssop, myrrhy as poem’s shadow. He
Takes my nose in hand, knifing,
Presses it closed,
Cut. Keeping from me my scent. Now they break,
All the lines, shard-cinnabar, the face,
Spreading. And upon a silver platter I will be
Served my own severed head.
I will sway behind
Its beauty, veining, as the seventh veil is falling before me.