by Foz Meadows

In this desert
lion-jawed Silence waits like a sphinx.
In one hand she holds the scalpel.
In one hand she holds the key.

(Two hands or one?, philosophers ask. 
They don't know. 
They've never seen her
and those who have 
aren't prone to conversation.
Not anymore.)

Note the tail-tuft, tawny as ripe wheat.
Her skin is brown as a bruised mango.
Eyes like Roman coins — ancient, tarnished —
blink in sync with the waxing moon.

She has no disciples. Only supplicants.

(What is the difference?, philosophers ask.
There is no answer, of course.
But the asking soothes them.)

Her heart is an overripe fruit,
bloody pulp congealing 
on a stone core. 

Sometimes travelers seek her out.
They open their throats
and quiver as she plucks their tongues,
their red chords,
buds and tendons played like instruments.

Others are less willing. They fight and flail
as though her fur were a dusty rug,
their fingers splayed into carpet-beaters.
Still, their lips part like theater curtains
and in she steals — the leaena,  
center stage:

a courtesan in amber,
mute with rage.

Foz Meadows is a bipedal mammal with delusions of immortality. She is also the author of two YA urban fantasy novels: Solace & Grief and its sequel, The Key to Starveldt, both with Ford Street Publishing. She likes cheese, geekery, webcomics and general weirdness. Dislikes include Hollywood rom-coms, liquorice and the Republican party. An Australian expat, Foz currently lives in Scotland with not enough books and her very own philosopher. Surprisingly, this is a good thing. Her favourite fruit is, without a doubt, mango. There's no way to eat one without getting sticky, they're as tasty as they are versatile, and they look like edible, golden apostrophes. What's not to love?

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