The Last Dragon

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Words: Orla Davey (she/her)

Possession wasn’t enough. What good was gold

unless we could live and breathe it? 

With fire-brazen throats we engulfed villages, burnt them

bankrupt. Flames flickered within your grin as

shadows scattered like scorched snow 

whilst we melted and merged

What was theirs became ours

tucked away where no one could touch

We couldn’t spend or sell, but you insisted

Fear was better than any bargain

Greed-glazed eyes consumed empty gleams

of cluttered gold, carving caves into 

castles. Steamed embraces singed sight, blinding me to

tarnished shadows tinged with dried blood

Plasma corpses congealed in the peripheral 

as we coiled in our rusted, restless mound of power

but new beginnings cannot be bought. Fear nor gold

can reincarnate innocence from corruption

Reaching for more, your exposed flesh was

finally pierced. Shadows morphed back to men, to mutiny

The last entrails of steam slither from your

remains, pitchforks parade before our castle gates

 – a granite mouth gaped in terror. Poised in position

swords whinge with precision, far clearer

than dull scrapes of hollow goblets and chains

Claws clutch coin, recoiling amidst dim glints of a trove 

no transaction can redeem

Burrowed in blood-money, your skeletal web of wing-bones 

cannot protect what must be paid

Tears choke fire to ash, clogging my throat, refusing

an easy way out

I did this for us. I wanted that to be true

as too late I learn all the gold we ever needed

was within us; now gone.


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