by Thomas Yates

The Sallow-skinned man and the
ugly little violin
are behind me. Movements tighten,
a howl adds to the sharp rhythm,
the knife waits in its sheath.
But I am tired, sand-filled;
heavy paws move
like the slow struggle
of a drowning nightmare, the short
chain on my neck
is too tight.
With a sudden crack, the hated hands
draw red lines across my back,
tear the fragile fur.

But now the gold dust shimmers in the white light, dim
over the crowded dance floor. Movements, like waves
caressing the sand, mirror
the soft rhythmic background beat.
Aching echoes of moments, fragmented
in smiles we’d never recognise
if we hadn’t seen them in our dreams.