The Vampire Smokes a Reflective Cigarette

The vampire, a dragon made of marble,
eyes like cities burning,
exhales a cloud of smoke.

He said he understood me. We were lovers--does that shock you, my dear?--and he swore endlessly that he did understand me, that he understood the perfection of my form to be matched only by the depthless evil of my soul.

The vampire's voice is burned velvet:
soft, smoky, reeking
with death.

But he did not understand. They never do. And, in the end, I killed him--not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I killed him and drank his blood while his screams echoed and no one came in answer. And then, I think, he understood--far too late--what it means to be vampire.

The vampire stubs out the cigarette and takes your hand;
for a moment, you feel silk
lips and ice-crystal fangs
against your wrist.

The vampire looks at you, eyes
gleaming. Towers fall in those eyes,
and you cannot help but hear the cries
of the damned.

And you, my dear? Do you understand?

You smile, and you nod.

© Sarah Monette 2004     Feel free to link to this poem, but please do not reproduce it without permission.