Cauldron Anthology Sphinx - 2 - Page 22

The Eyes Blinking in the Woods Claire Francis 22 She resides in riddles, tongue hungrily slinking along cracked, carnivorous lips and saliva sinking into a pelt like the gold she supposedly guards. Her paws pad through throats like a parade, patronizing and paralyzing and proud of the trappings she once commanded. She crawls, coughing, from her crypt – ticking and ticking through the boredom of time. She is wily and wild and winged, and she impresses herself onto triangular tombs in shrewd self-preservation; statuesque and royal and ridiculously self-assured. She is the myth’s siren darling, hair tripping over birdlike bones and bloodied teeth sliced by a child’s smile. She clings to a sea-stained map with no slashed “x,” slit edges rusty-colored and useless. Solitude cloaks a mermaid’s wake, feathered with a selfish hunger and veiled by wanderlust’s shroud. Her garbled tongue will lure you close enough to taste her breath and she will crumple in her palm your will and words for once like a fistful of melting sand, unapologetic and ruthless and constantly searching.