Startled awake by the rush
of wings, I saw him rise
through a haze of sunlight
and heart-shaped leaves.
Such beauty. But my eyes
couldn’t deny the caul of slime,
the flip-flap of his tatty webs,
or the glistening, wet-lipped
threat of his skin. Shining harlequin.
He fell to his knees beside me.
Tentatively, I traced the contours
of his body. He was softer
than I’d dreamt. I followed the definition
of thigh muscle, the bony ridges
along his spine, the sores
at his neck where I touched that awful
hollow throat and watched it balloon
under the pressure of unspoken words,
felt it push against my fingertips, fit to burst.
Joanne Key lives in Cheshire where she writes poetry and short fiction. She won 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition and has previously been shortlisted for Poetry for Performance, The Bridport Prize, Mslexia Poetry Competition and The Plough Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared both online and in print. Completely in love with poetry, she writes every day and her work is often inspired by elements of fairytale and folklore.