The Pendant…

In the end
my heart relented

capitulated to the truth

spreading like a cold fog
in its depths

This was my doing

I had summoned her here

this heresy was mine to bear

this heavy weight sat within my chest
in this awful place

this ballroom

with its bright draperies
and terrible opulence

blazing candles and music
filled the hall

and I

a primped and polished peacock
in my coat and tails
and white-gloved hands

like a ridiculous clown
standing by
with a nervous fidget in his feet
and a presumptuous
painted on smile

I was in no condition
to bear witness to her entrance
from the top of the stairs

she descended
like a banner
unfurling down the long grey stones
of a fortress wall

she wore a dress of
chiffon and velvet

and as she stepped
onto the flagstones
where I stood in a puddle of agony
she moved to curtsy

but the ghost of my honor
rushed forward
and captured her gloved hand
in mine

there is no plane of existence
on which I am owed
such a gesture

the surprise in her eyes
at my forwardness
gave way to a breaking smile
across her olive features

her dark eyes
like pools of night
and my own
so unable
to avoid them

as the waltz started
her hand and mine
palm to palm

her other on my upper arm
my hand at the small of her back
clumsy with the silk ribbon bow
that foiled a comfortable resting place

I found that my feet remembered
a strange dance
from antiquity

an echo of a time where these events
meant the summit
of the social hierarchy

titles instead of names

names instead of faces

faces only at your peril

I felt the iron anchor
of my responsibility
dragging at the backs of my legs
threatening to buckle me down
and clasped in our dancers embrace
she with me

but what broke my heart
all the more
was to notice
the single scarlet gem
they had given her to wear

like a large drop of blood
it sat at the base of her throat

with each flourish
each slowly spinning arc of our dance
as she and I orbited one another
like two stars of a binary system

the garish light
of this mirrored menagerie
imbued it with fire
and it cast out its sparkling
red light

upon my face

the walls

the floor

was the jeweled end
of a cruel and cold pin
that impaled this butterfly
to the wax blocks
for the amusement
of her

and its red flaring pulse
was the spilling of her blood
in waves of light

About Eric

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