Shahrazad by Mike Alexander

Your head set on an ancestral server
lets the fables bleed from your lips to stain
silk coverlets — I’d swear to surrender

my kingship if I could to feed again
on your fabulous tales, your fantasies
as ornate as your strategies were plain.

I wanted to live as in your stories,
not droplet by droplet, not dawn by dawn.
I drank the wine whole with its mysteries.

I drank the dark, & as the darkness then
swelled into blood, I drank in its blood-thick
silence. I’ve tasted one thousand nights & one

since you sang me the tale of the lunatic
emperor & his beheaded courtesan.

Mike Alexander has published in numerous journals, most recently in River Styx, Bateau, & Borderlands. He also has a poem in the upcoming inaugural issue of Necrography.

Image: Illustration from The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, ed. Andrew Lang. 1898