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Elizabeth Barrette's poetry has appeared in a wide variety of publications. She is also the Managing Editor of PanGaia and Assistant Editor of SageWoman; she selects poetry for both magazines.

Dark Planet is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments, please contact her at lusnyde@cyberus.ca.

All materials copyright 1996-2001 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

vrykolakos of Venice

by Elizabeth Barrette

a glint, as if of metal, in the shadows
soon resolves into a smile of ice
two crescent moons turning their backs on each other
between sunset-sultry lips

and a scent of dusk hangs in the air
like smoke, heavy yet elegant,
while sharp-eared violins
wail behind Venetian blinds

starlight on dark water beckons
and she comes to take his hand
leading him down to the landing
where gondolas flock near like long, lean swans

when they kiss,
she can taste basil and tomato on this tongue,
while her breath leaves a bite of copper
at the back of his mouth

but oh, he does not care,
for her eyes are black Venetian beads gilded with memory
and her hair is a cape of sable lace down her back
and twin roses bloom on her brown cheeks

he can feel her pressing against him like a cool wind,
seeking, and something within him
bubbles up an answer
against her slender limbs in the quiet night

the gondolier pretends not to notice
he thinks he has seen it all
so when they come together he gazes out over the water
and admires the moon

keen teeth meet through a fold of flesh
lighting a fire of bliss on misery's wick
and the young man does not care that she burns his candle
at both ends

he only cares that it burns,
warming a cold place deep inside,
setting him free from what his father wrote in stone
free as ash floating up towards the sky

her voice caresses his ear
telling the cost of what he has bought:
he does not care that he must give up the sun
and leave on the midnight train for somewhere far from her territory

for her last words echo in his heart
as the gondola bumps against the dock,
a promise of eternal compromise:
we'll always have Venice, my love