Auburn tresses locking down the shoulders,
Forest green patterns swirling in the shade,
It was late October when I told you
The dragon was in my eye’s corner.
But it was dreaming lowly in the dark,
The tongue flickering peacefully with shadows and ashes.
You offered to entrap it with a net,
But I told you I felt guilty doing so.
So it remained free, in my vision,
Never blurring, never fading,
Only lying with me, ready to guide me through
Mazes, the ones you refused to lead me to.
It visited me during the day, in rags and jewels,
And terrified me at night with its mask and teeth burning red.
I told you I could just not look at it,
Maybe it would go away.
And when I spoke it moved from its nest,
Leaving behind scorched marks of sweat and aggression,
It crawled step by step to me,
Until it barely reached your toes.
Then it snarled. Not for long, just short,
But it snarled and you jumped,
Because I snarled back as loud as it did,
And you thought you felt me burn.
And in moments of weakness I blinked.
I blinked and I blinked until
The dragon melted with your shadow,
And your shadow melted with the dragon, as a candle.
In cringing horror I stumbled down
To you, on my knees, as you morphed
Into the creature you had already become
Just last October.
Once again you offered to entrap the dragon
In a net, the one you sewed last October
For me. I told you I felt guilty
Entrapping you like that.
by Esmé Manuel, 16, St. Stephen’s High School, Italy