The Harlot

by Abby Paden

exposing breasts behind thin silk
the harlot’s smile now pierced the veil
beneath her offering
her skin is cold and deathly pale

baring teeth, so elegant
the golden smile with breath so stale
the stench between the rows
her only guard, her silky veil

she twirls and slithers gracefully
the walls reflecting shadow-dance
the sheen on silk from candelight
this moment now her only chance

the dance resumes, her choice revealed
purpose-strong in every stride
which prince would carry her to live
and make her England’s newest bride

the harlot takes her lover’s name
in ceremonial right
her husband takes her hand
and innocence by night

exposing skin under the sheets
the prince accepts her breast
into his mouth the blood now flows
her gift just like the rest

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