by Dennis Hiatt
She had a bobbing pony tail, a neat mobile mouth, and,
when she didn't know you were looking, cold eyes.
Unanimated, her face was fresh, clean, and lovely-strong
good-looking. On stage alive, her funny, clever face, seemed
to say that she would forever be a surprised brave child.
Her face protected her. It was like armor that deflected
hurtful men by making them underestimate her. She was sly,
very sly and she knew that. But, did she know that her eyes
weren't windows to her soul, but fierce, angry dragons that
stood guard over her heart?
Like all good dragons her eyes were beautiful, and
strong. They were as blue as a Chinese sky, and as quick as
mating cobras. We all know that dragons can be playful, but
they never sleep. They would step behind closed lid when she
kissed. They would laugh, or sigh, or even flare hot and wide
when she made love, but if the man in her bed touched her
deep, they would hide her heart far inside her. Then they
would be the carefullest of sly dragons, and pretend to
sleep. But they would not. They would watch this man from
half closed bedroom lids. They would let nothing he did
escape them. Was he a good man, or did he hurt soft, warm,
How could they know? They would watch, and watch, and
watch, and if he raised a hand too quick they would be on him
with fangs and claws. And, perhaps they would have been too
quick. Perhaps he'd only reached for a cigarette. They might
then be a little embarrassed, but they wouldn't really care.
Her heart was their child. That child was beauty, and love
itself. The whole world could be damned to fire, and frost,
and every plague from Hell on low, and the dragons would not
care a single fig so long as their child slept on soft grass,
under a warm sun, in the garden of forever flowers.
But forever is only for dragons, and children need
to be touched or they die, and year after year the garden of
the dragons becomes colder and colder, until thick walls of
stone have sprung up, and the high cold tower of their caring
will hold nothing alive.
The dragons sense this in their bright scaled way. They
camouflages themselves with artful colors and cute gladness.
From under dark lashed, they coo, Strip yourself of shining
armor. Leave your sword on your bed. Tonight come to us
naked with chocolate, and smiles. Offer to our while fangs
and long claws your bare throat. If you are truly good, we
dragons they will let you into her garden, and we, will keep
you both warm forever.
But we all know dragons always lie.