Beast

I am not beast,
he said clawing at the ancient
sky,
under which he has found himself
suffocated and extinguished.

When was it that the darkened expanse,
fitted behind the sun,
became an anchor
and the sun itself
became a portal
to a turgid world of reckoning?
Does a beast, eyes red and soaking,
teeth yellow and bared,
dare think these thought?

It had been a long time since he had felt
pain.
It had been a long time since he had seen
his own blood flow into the time-carved
rivulets in the ground below
and gather into
small puddles under his feet.
He couldn't remember how long he
had sat on his throne.
His memories faded to smoke faster than
the fire had been built,
and he was laying face up
into a scrying glass.
He had taken the throne,
gladly,
upon murmurings of discontent.
It had been easy,
he thought, and he thought it again,
and even smiled at this thought
that he had been the one to puncture the
delicate tapestry of long-established formality.
How fitting, then, that
his blood spelled out a new tapestry,
but did nothing to contain the heat within him.
The draft blew subtly over his body.
He could feel death come soon.

His throne, no doubt now filled,
sat solidly under him for as long as he cared
to remember.
There were nights when the throne
withstood the stolid rocking of hips.
There were times when that throne
witnessed the split sides and throats
of the outspoken.
There were moments when the throne
was engulfed in flames.
His throne will stand
while he slowly drains into the void.

It was quick when it happened.
He was asleep in the middle of the women.
That's how the king always slept.
He would miss that.
But, there was something odd on the air.
There was something less than kind.

The slow knife kills swiftest.
It was dark when the end pierced his side.
He could only see the whites of his eyes
before he fled into the woods.

The chase was long.
The sun wouldn't be up for another few hours.
The snow hadn't stopped falling.
He had lost too much too quickly
and now he lay in the middle
of an alabaster coffin.

I am not a beast.
I do not belong on the ground
with the leaves, and the grass, and
the dead!

And in that moment, his soul
departed.
His throne sat a new king
and his body became
like all other beasts,
determined to build a tree.

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