When no one is looking, she whispers in his ear. Sir, you have spoken
It’s beautiful, such precision, such an exact measure of penalty to offense.
Her needles piercing the soft meat of his tongue.
Always the artist controls the path our eye will follow.
The swooning queen; the hand, upraised in mid-stitch; unboxed, the severed
Light blossoms on her face, the line of her throat. Bright and unnaturally
Intimate, the tip of John’s tongue pinched so close between her fingers.
Water leaking from the wounds, from the lakes beneath his tongue that in
The tip. Of that troublesome. Tongue.
And each time we discover last—that is no table he rests on. Eyes,
Herodias, hand poised like a swan diving. Dissolving into darkness against
dress the needle, itself, invisible.
The saint’s head in her lap.
Will you then, sirrah. Will you keep quiet.