by Victoria Shelton

The delicate center part of the hair,
no open space in the dark.
Nightgold blue gold in the unseen mass of her
hair. Unlike her, 24 karat soft,
this sword purely the extension of a precious metal
goal — jewelry that makes more room for the skin.
An incision point, clean as gilded hands.
The first to depict blood on her hand,
on her dress, on her chest like a freckle
blood on the grey-gold bracelet
 a stain that masks the headroom between
        suggestion and proposition 
with nothing girlish about her arms
it’s no wonder thumbscrews were used,
who made carnage seep out so prettily, 
so real on sheets that spread past the frame
To cut through something more precious than bone-
Feminine rivets,      pearl maxima,       aggressive négligée
The axis of Bethulia: protect your neck
No thing is purely for decoration— a lesson 
Taught by the slope of the eyes