She had known bitter days

She had known bitter days

A Poem by Terpsichore

Sin is, or sin isn't, she thinks,
icy with detachment
as she squeezes the trigger.
Payback for all the damaged years.

The afternoon is bright,
the room is silent.
Mirrors magnify and 
thoughts assemble,
as cloistered in serene order, 
she drifts away on a draught 
of simple murder.

First shot, in the groin.
He squeals like a pig, 
teeth bared, forehead veined
as fluid runs down his leg
and clouds soak up the sun
in the onset of dusk.

She laughs thinly, takes aim again
at his thumping heart.
She is slightly off target and
the slug smashes his shoulder blade,
he squirms on the oriental rug,
howling through bullet splintered bone
as she prays for pain.

He can't speak now, 
she knows this slow dance
is his last, that they are 
sharing final seconds.
This is their eucharist and 
she is giving him the gift of 
white light and eternal damnation.

She prods at his dying face
with the toe of her suede high heel,
casually lights a cigarette.
One more shot for the road...
Aims at his forehead, laughs 
and this time doesn't miss.

Calmly, she changes clothes, 
packs what she needs, then 
telephones for a cab.
Two hours later at the airport 
she reflects happily on the deed,
dressed in a gaucho jacket 
and a wide-brimmed, black Madrid hat.
Bound for New Orleans, and no way back.

In the Mardis Gras hotel room
she examines herself.
Runs slender fingers over the purple scars
that now defile her empty chest.
She remembers the words of rejection
and the lack of needful sympathy.
The cruel taunts of lost womanhood
and the solo pain of chemotherapy
whilst he sought comfort elsewhere.

She is not in remission.
The poisonous flower still blooms,
opening insidiously, inside her.
Her days are numbered,
cheap as yesterdays cloakroom tickets;
but it is carnival time
and she has come here to die
in the party atmosphere. 
First though she must sleep,
garner what little strength remains.

She wakes to the sound of flutes and drums
drifting on the willowy breeze.
Tonight she will dance again
until her feet bleed from the rough streets.
She will drink dark rum passed from 
anonymous revellers, flirt a little, 
perhaps steal one last kiss as the fiery 
mahogany spirit warms her cancerous tumours.

At dusk the sky fills with violet ash
from the crackling carnival bonfires,
she goes deep into the crowd,
cherishing every passing moment
amongst the parrot feathers and tinfoil,
the glinting diamantes and white silky blaze
as she wanders slowly back to her hotel.

From her chair on the balcony 
she can smell honeysuckle and French roses.
Can hear a choir, emotive and distant.
She leans back, closes her eyes for a moment,
listening to the flapping of linen sheets
as the maid unravels them.
They sound like the wings of a bird;
a free bird, as she quietly slips away.

© 2016 Terpsichore

My Review

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This is powerful, artful, & surprising. From word one, I was filled with the venomous wrath this narrator feels upon deciding, if she must be taken out, then she's going to take him out first. I love how your storyline dallies to the jovial N.O. streets as a stark contrast to all the gory underlying threads. Your ending is gloriously woven with possibilities (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Years Ago

a tale of sadness and death but also life, as the protagonist tries to sort some kind of order knowing the end is near, the language swirls and twists, and there is reaffirming of life, in death, cool poem

Posted 3 Years Ago

Just reading through some your items to return the favour. You reviewed some of mine. This is so skillfully worked out, leading to a moving finish. I marvel at the imagination that has thought this up.

Posted 4 Years Ago

A moving piece, well written. Well done!

Posted 7 Years Ago

This is so very well written and your wonderful descriptions build such a sympathetic character that has me cheering for her strength and courage, even though she's just committed a crime. You have given her a happy ending.

Posted 7 Years Ago

This is proof that you can do with (in) poetry, what you can do in life if life is a series of hurts and recompense . That is, everything that happens after Dickinson is confessional or after Ginsberg is not a story worth telling. But storytelling is what, ultimately, poetry is about, perhaps just in a round about way.

The scars of a scorned women are slow to heal/, but the honeysuckle still bloom. Wonderfully written/

Posted 7 Years Ago

Such an incredible compelling tale encapsulated in a just dozen supremely well crafted stanzas. Many a best selling author, would, I am sure, give their eye teeth to possess your craftmanship.

I was both captured and captivated from first line to last.


Posted 7 Years Ago

Whatever I say here will fall woefully short of your creation. To speak to it as a moral story, or an artwork or simply a superb collection of evocative words will certainly not do this creation anywhere near its true justice.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Wow indeed.... Is it a book, is it a play, is it a movie?

Well it could be all these things & I for one am otherwise lost for words. I never expected to stumble across such a compelling write & can only echo some of the many positives already expressed by my reviewing predecessors. All Good Things, N

Posted 7 Years Ago

This is storytelling as it should be done, not only the compelling narrative but the empathy, the knowing, the use of language providing shading and depth, giving the piece the added dimension which sets the good stuff apart from the Robert Service type of fol-de-rol. Suffice it to say I wish I had written this.

Posted 7 Years Ago

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15 Reviews
Added on July 12, 2016
Last Updated on July 12, 2016



London, United Kingdom

Nothing much to tell really. I work in the city, boring, but lucrative enough to enable me to spend most weekends away from the place. I enjoy writing, reading equally as much. Like retro style cloth.. more..

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