Banner design © TJ Edson

Banner design © TJ Edson

Out of the Coffin

My curiosity wasn’t lured by the leash,
but the marks on her neck
as she knelt on all fours
beside a man dressed in a black turtleneck, black slacks,
his hair cut short, sleek, ordinary.

His forehead was not inked,
an identification tag did not swing from a chain,
only her puncture wounds
and the fangs I could see when his lips parted
gave away his sanguinarian status.

I am not a fledgling but a black swan
my wings laid back, feathers unruffled
my neck stretching
into the crevices of Brookline Street.

I can smell the subculture pulse,
the rush of its blood sweet nectar for liquid banks.

The mundanes, the nils,
with their three sheets to the wind breath,
stalk Massachusetts Avenue,
weave in and out, oblivious
to the nocturnal eruptions of living vampires.

Central Square rumbles underground,
dirt shifts and coffin lids creak.

This reality is not a masquerade ball
that stirs movement in the dark,

and the blood that dripped into a chalice
before she donned latex and a leather collar
was pure

and real.

He took in her donation from the cup
felt the real presence of her
mix with his saliva, offer him life.

They are not chained to sadomasochistic role play;
she is not his fashion vamp.

He is only doing what we all do –
trying to survive. She
his willing sustenance.


Rene Schwiesow is host of the popular South Shore poetry venue The Art of Words. A Somerville Bagel Bard, she has been published in Ibbetson Street, Muddy River, Midway Journal and The Waterhouse Review among others.