One foot on the step
is all it takes to change a life
while the other lingers
in warm ochre dust

A foot on the step
presses stone-chill knowledge
from sole to knee in an instant
of Chinese whispers

That’s all it takes to the Great Below
neither cashmere shawls nor lapis beads
can retain your dignity

Memories of a lover’s kiss
on the mezzanine
cannot warm you
choruses of adulation
will not help you face this one down

Did I say face?
nothing quite prepares you
for the icy blast
of meeting your other half
in the dark mirror
obsidian eyes cut an ego to shreds
less than a maggot
on the flyblown arse of a decaying donkey
all you can do is rot
and pray for release

At last your heart opens to love
that unforgiving bitch of envy and rejection
who you once banished after all
till she reclaimed you
and you crawl back up to the light
thankful only for the grace of breath
your eyes deeper by three miles

“Now you are fit”
she whispers
“to call yourself Queen”

©Rachael Clyne