The poet dipped his quill in a tiny puddle of iron-black ink and brushed a delicate calligraphy across a pale swatch of his manuscript, each stroke delivered as precisely as that of a surgeon’s scalpel. His lips moved as he read his own words.
“I dream in heat,” he whispered. “Of bell-loud nights where I tattooed love in her flesh with the wet needle of my tongue.”
The manuscript did not speak, could not around the satin gag that bound her mouth to silence. But now she allowed herself to breathe, allowed her chest to rise and fall beneath the fine dark lines that etched her skin. And her eyes were expressive, wet with a holy shine that the poet kissed lightly away.
“Not much more,” he said. “A few haikus worth, perhaps.”
He soothed the manuscript’s damp forehead with sandpaper-dry palm, then leaned back in his chair beside the bed where his canvas lay and picked up the smallest and sharpest of his knives. The manuscript shuddered, but the poet only trimmed his quill to a fresh tip and returned the blade to its defined space on the bedside table. Once again he dipped quill to ink; once again he wrote and read.
"A white rain
on a black day
scorpion voices whisper"
fallen into Hell"