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It is not, one might suspect, a place for sisters
To swallow a garlic tablet, or inspect a crucifix;

Lipstick applied strictly without mirrors;
The librarian expects Swinburne’s books

Returned to the minute or penalties accrue;
Turned at eighteen from mortal to undivine,

They prefer their correction on the rack
Wriggling as they divest them of mortal wine –

The inside gag they have to label our blood –
For make no mistakes, these fanged co-eds

With their skirts and blouses kill for sport
Like gods did once; they’re the new thing,

Digitally connected to the boys they lure
To suspend upside down, pleading anaemia

Or malaria or worse – girls long in tooth,
Their claws decreased for Instagram, their busts

Instead pronounced – most from Slavonic
Lands, or so they sound – they smirk, and grind

Their words like chewing bones, torture
Syntax because they can; whip their torsos

Into archaic shape, and shine at night
As brightly as any chemical tan applied;

I have begged for these daughters of Satan
To accept me onto their course; their syllabi

Defeats most sibyls, their demonic kissing
Transformative as any degree in engineering

Or genetics. I want to learn to die in the arms
Of one of these creatures of the evening glow –

Though they prefer artifice and gaming
Among their own lithe immortal jejune kind;

They toss and throw men around like dice,
Break off their parts like icicles in red snow;

And genuinely disdain what jets from lust
Except it has glucose and drips roseate,

Sublimely, from a spliced open vein or more;
Don’t call them tarts or harlots or whores,

Just because you cannot control their feeding
Or what drives them to desire a frenzied milk

That runs in rivulets down the giving dead.
I ask for them to have mercy on my Christian

Birth and imbue me with acrobatic skills
So I can fly-crawl and web-scuttle as they do;

I have been lead here by graphic insights
And a craving to live when rivals pass away;

But tonight is Halloween so they are gay
And dancing sickly-pale, half-vivid, quiet

To hear the ringing of girls from the academy
Trick or treating in the laneway; I am dropped

Like a bad option and told to return next year.
I pass giggling donors dressed as ghosts,

Envision soaked engaging toasts ahead;
Praying to the grape-ripe moon for dark power.

30 October 2015
copyright Todd Swift


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