Marie Brizard

Jeffrey Seitz

“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”

“And I to your long life.”

–Edgar Allen Poe from The Cask of Amontillado

 

Overhead, the pink paper mache lanterns

quiver as you come over while I sit

watching the other colors decorate the streets.

A shade soaks onto your porcelain face.

As I search for light in your hollow eyes,

you thrust yourself forward and kiss me.

 

I taste barley.

 

You plummet into my depths and rip my soul

asunder. You pull strings, tie knots, and tighten

valves. My throat collapses and my lips solidify.

 

I gasp.

 

My breath abates in the pink dimming lights.

One lantern follows another into the black—

Which shadow shall I chase?

 

Everyone else walks off with another in hand.

The city floats off into twilight’s open wings,

my hands wrestle around my neck.

 

Why is time so slow? 

 

The walls become chalk in the moonlight.

I feel oxygen wave good-bye.

I pull at my neck, still feeling the coils

squeezing, rhyming with my throbbing heart.

You dare me to close my eyes

while I whimper and moan for mercy.

 

I didn’t expect my tomb to be this big.

 

 

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Shawangunk Review Volume XXXI Copyright © 2020 by Jeffrey Seitz. All Rights Reserved.

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