The Dragon Shields Her Young

by Mike Allen

I am

a river of stars and scales and fire and milk and all the things that thrive in the alchemical reactions where they meet.

I am

my own soul and all the others too, every single constellation in the sky. Not one of them can stop the chimerical redactions as I claim their shapes, their minds. I do this at will, but they can never in return claim mine.

The gale of my flight strips the fox's fiery hide. My coils ensnare the serpent, braid him, make him poison his own tail.

My mouth gapes to scoop the spider's brood, Leviathan straining krill, their dying embers tickling my throat.

My gulf-spanning shriek scares the crow back to the rim of time. My claws snap the hunter's arrow and my teeth drive him back into the day.

A single strike, the ring of the prince's arms severed at the wrists.

All of you

watch as it ends, as my own curtain descends, as I add your blue bauble to my horde, warm you against my belly, my sleeping egg.

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