by Em Power

My weak brave husband, he was always a brittle blade,
Honour before reason, dry eyes open to the blaze of the sun,
Each letter I opened talking of dead Scots and rebels and anyone
But me. Me, empty-bellied, staring up at the night sky.
Once. Twice. Thrice. At least until that final, crumpled, yellow light arrived.
My dearest, willing to look past a slice of the future for his so-called God,
His suppositional King, oh, that handsome, spineless fool.
I was bit by thousands of snakes. I promised him every inch of the ocean
In exchange for a dais, or a bit of leeway, or a kiss (the kind we used to have.)
When he returned, dagger glinting, I waited for the soldier in him,
I found nothing but the ghost of tears in his eyes, and the red remains of a man.
I trailed a finger down his cheek, finished the job and spat at his feet.
Now he’s abandoned his wife again, left me here to sleep amble, then rot.
It’s just me, a royal ghost, a dark hallway and this damned scarlet spot.