Dragons’ Dread by Rayfield A. Waller

Dragons’ Dread

For Shirley Roberson

It ducks a smoking muzzle, rears it then when it has spoke.
“I am terror past measure, unnerving death; I’ll fear no lass,”
It brags to a synod of beasts, for they and he have awoke.

Coarse chested dragons, knees, jaws, tail to tail, when one has said,
“we claim this dark river in keen winter starlight—she shall not pass!”
And they thunder, pledge that ‘the wench’ will shortly be dead.

Comes a goddess aloof, staff in hand. Three dragons babble spells.
“Stop!” she shouts. “For now, I’ll speak, all of you will listen now.”
Chants from her drop, molten bouquet, tolling as goddess’ bells.

Her staff glows blue, behind her sprout crocuses, fall flecks of snow.
“Celosia!” cries a beast, “snow quenches us, but How?!”
“Thus!” smiles she, red electricity. Dread dragons bow down low.

*Shirley Roberson is a real-life magician who has defeated stage four cancer for many years, to the astonishment and delight of all non-dragons. The poet sees her as a dragon slayer.

Rayfield A. Waller. Detroit, Michigan, United States. Waller is a poet, cultural critic, labor activist, and political journalist who is a professor of literature, history, and the social sciences at Wayne State University and Wayne County Community College in the postindustrial city of Detroit, Michigan.

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