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it howls
the beast black-backed and fanged
his language languishing
banished back to a growl
and I
the foul thing’s stink stuck slathered with slime
slick and soaked in it
grappling with grime
the crime: twelve winters’ murders
dozens dead
what’s another demise
so I
at beck and call
my godfather’s all and only hope
I rise
tick-tock to the time
across oceans’ roads past rows of ghosts
of hosts of demons that I’ve slain
a name I made by trading lives
till monstrous I became
and I
arrive alive again to try
my luck, my name
to gain more fame and fortune
apportion me my glory fee
and I will fight for thee
do I
now holding hard this monster’s hand
a man do I pretend to stand
a man who draws lines in the sand
a man and not a brand
but I
hear bone-shard and sinew crack
the black beast’s fangs full-fearing
back to bed in slayer’s surf
would run sore shrieking
seeking solace from that sound
but I
hold fast and last I grasp
clasp the struggling mass of stink
I think of a time gone by
where buying time was a time to come
and I
feel bending turned to rending
and defending turned to ending
and lending turned to spending
of a life lived giving all
and howl

Richard is a writer and Ph.D. candidate at Boston College, where he studies remix theory and medieval literature while running the digital culture blog This Week In Tomorrow (  He has precisely one cat.
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