Unravelling and weaving, sometimes simultaneously

Duchesse Brisée

She glanced at him
across the breakfast table
her jewelry casket open
before her

she sifted her fingers
through the baubles and chains
idly
thoughtfully
her eyes returning
over and over
to the posy wrapped in ribbons
lying to the side
so fresh
dew clung to the greenery
and slid from the cups
of the blossoms

‘Never fall in love
with a courtesan’
she protested
with a tiny
practiced
shake of her head
that made the coils of her hair
to slip over her shoulder
in a satin waterfall
guiding his gaze
to her bosom

‘Save your love
for those hearts
that are still unbroken

or barring that
those that have not been rebuilt
into strongholds
you may never breach’

‘Once…’
she laughed
and clutched a glittering brooch
white knuckled

‘I thought I was invincible
I thought I could conquer
by the pure charisma
and passionate force
that nature granted me

and that love
was the goddess of my altar
and that I was the altar
and therefore the mirror
that reflected love
into the darkest corners…’

her dark eyes raked him
glossy and sharp
obsidian knives
rimmed in kohl

‘but I was wrong
and the mirror cracked
then shattered
leaving me cut to pieces’

She dropped the brooch
into the midst of snarled jewels
and waved her hand over them
benediction
and prestidigitation

‘I learned how to replace
each shard with a diamond
to take what was fragile
and make it so hard
that everything
everything else
would break before it did

and one day
I had nothing left
of the reflection

because the goddess
had abandoned me
to my cold facets
and calculations’

with a single fingertip
she stroked the petal
of a rose
then
gently tugging
pulled all the petals free
and scattered them
on the floor

‘Do not be that rose’
she murmured
‘save your love
and your sanity

bring me
practical things
things that don’t remind me
I once had
a reflection
and keep the rest

especially your heart

to yourself’

Cora Pearl

Cora Pearl

(c) RCGA 2015

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