a hollow crown

the wrong voice viii:
A Hollow Crown

by Ariel Mo


Unhurried, tilting backwards,
swaying like the moon that sinks
even as he fights tooth and nail
to hang on to the night. An

evening star whispers her song
over his creamy skin,
but in answer only dragons rise,
adamant scales twisting

in mockery of her constellations:
Of the reddened skin on
the back of his neck and
the gold veins in her cheeks.

So many maps—but the moon
turns his back on them all
and fights tooth and nail
to hang on to the night. The

evening star fades. Indigo
and blue wither away as dawn
falls on razor-sharp clouds,
reclaims the sky, eclipses the moon.

Dragons howl, but their iron claws
turn to ash and smoke. Their
crowns drop—hollow now—
collide—crash through

empty constellations, roaring,
echoing their blood-red songs.
And down on the roof, she lifts
her face, lets the red wash across

the gold veins in her cheeks; but still
it is the wrong voice that
whispers in her ear and hands her
his hollow crown.