A Performance

In a dark room raucous and seething,

a man stands on a throne with wine in his hand,

heavily breathing,

shouting along with the crowd

through the din.

The crowd surrounds a table, both wooden and bent

beneath the weight of platters and plates

and fists pounding.

A crown has been crashed on the head of the man,

as he tilts this way and that to the gathered shouts.

A dancer arrives, a daughter’s eyes

shining up through the crowd –

the dance begins and ends,

a performance, hints of eternity

for the man who stands on the throne

with the crown which has been crashed on his head.

The crowd applauds, the crowd shouts,

the crowd jeers, and the crowd is deafening.

The man who stands on the throne

with wine in his hand hears the crowd,

sits firmly down,

acquiescing and succumbing

dumbed down and numbing,

“Anything anything, up to half my kingdom!”

the man cries,

the man who now sits on the throne,

the man who has just glimpsed eternity.

The crowd nudges the mother, who leans and whispers

sinister and bitter to the daughter’s ears:

“Daughter, ask for me this, for we much desire

to see our sire injured,

to pay a small price, hardly half a kingdom”

The daughter turns to the man on the throne,

hesitating, waiting, begrudging then caving

and requests something other than what her heart wants.

A gasp goes up from the crowd,

like the last breath of a dead and dying man

A platter arrives shortly thereafter

glistening in the dim light.

Great red drops fall from the gauntlets of the guard

who kneels and peels the lid from the silver plate.

A head! A head! A grisly head greets the man who now stands

who stands on the throne, glass shattered on the floor,

where now two reds pool and mix, reflecting the horror

of the face of the man,

and the face of the daughter,

for the face of the head on the silver plate

is the face of the two, all three now the same.

The crowd hushes in glee

seeing the performance and sacrifice, what true delight,

what a true show –

capitulation of two they shouldn’t be able to control!

“Perhaps we can catch another, before tonight is over.”

And off they all shuffle,

leaving the man and the daughter with the head all alone,

leaving them with the remnants

of all that could only ever be called,

a performance.

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