Ink-stained scales, opalescent and hard-
the maiden caresses her husband’s skin,
fingering layers of epics, like the
dusty tomes in the abbey which he
burnt down, sparing no one except
the bruised blonde, who sought refuge
in the library. (A dragon’s flame is tender
if one knows the right way to burn.)
His flesh is made of old book script,
the fire in his gullet is the passion of poets
he has eaten, and his smoldering eyes
have pierced author’s hearts like so
many swords. He is the Storybeast:
devourer of riddles, digester of fables,
and she is the librarian of his body,
explorer of each claw and illumination,
polisher of his sagas and armored hide.
He cannot read himself, so she relays
the fables he has swallowed,
sings the tales on his tail, studies
the interplay of light on her
favorite novella (it is perched behind
his left ear, which she likes to whisper
into.) For what is a story alone, unread?
A beast to be loved, swirling emotion –
Climax, plateau, a breath – close the book.


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