A poem from an Asian myth.

Aswang

Running, at speeds beyond joy,
When air grows knife blades
That, cold edged, pierce the tatters
Of my lungs, the black dog pursues me.

My eyes leak a slow steady stream,
That is not precisely sorrow, nor totally
Competitive bliss; this is a game, and like every contest
It is life. Death. The grinning dog gives chase.

I run because he loves me;
Bare feet on moss, arms parting branches,
He runs because he loves.
This is our courtship, our longed for consummation.

The black dog’s teeth are white and sharp,
His limbs firm, untiring, he is so strong.
I am the girl I always was, athletic, but human,
Trained like all females to surrender the chase.

And the truth is; I want to.
This death is mine, created for me,
My creature, my servant, my trusted friend,
Long expected, missed deeply, come at last

To drag me down.
Lungs ache, but could go further.
My mouth feels bloody, inexplicably cold.
I allow my ragged feet to stumble

And after a moment of quiet,
He has me there, foot paws on shoulders,
On my back, in the moss. Kisses,
Familiar, the smell of rot, a body

Warm, unbreathing, the longed for thing.
Delivered at last. Ears up, furrowed forehead,
In the manner of dogs, perplexed at the failure
Of the Frisbee to launch itself again on air.

The end of the game is only ever a pleasure
For one player. Not for the winner
Who must go again, with a new partner,
Loved differently, some other plane.

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About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on November 14, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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