By: Janna Vought
Elizabeth Báthory, 1560-1614, history’s most prolific serial killer, accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women, then bathing in her victim’s blood.
I’m shadow, a symbol
cast to paper. I’m myth
ravaged by hungry heat,
bloated with a craving for blood.
I’m evil, swollen with sin, rabid,
teeming with demons and thieves.
I’m not human: (evil), woman,
villain, monster, offspring of a girl
sprung from the bottom of hell.
I can’t decipher myself, terrified inside
my brain. Jesus never suffered
as I do, drenched in his semen.
My body creates evolution,
child between my legs, product of hatred.
Deny me (Terrible God) passage
into heaven, barred for my passion.
Beauty, youth elude me; parts of me
begin to die. Phantoms dance
in the hollow of my soul. Beasts hiss
inside yellow eyes of the dead.
Monsters crawl. Hear their beaks
tap against the walls.
Who will see me Who will see me
Cloud woman chasing
white bison in the black sky.
Scream—scream, abandon all self
control. Lose myself to something
beyond. Kiss darkness. Soak in lush
blooms of red. Blood Countess, change
whatever I was before. New again.
I am beauty.
I am queen.
Congregate with locusts and flies
in sunless twilight color.
Follow her poison scent (so young)
among the flowers, low in sparks of clover,
disappearing. Lead her in glass blindfold
into woods, past painted stones, ancient trees
with gentle smile, head bowed
in submission careful
not to arouse suspicion.
Dark winged demons dance in fire fields,
devouring arsenic and afterbirth.
I am everywhere.
Escape is not possible.
Etch the memory of her
into my bath water.
Brush her hair (virgin girl), touch her shoulder,
thigh, wanting more. My tongue skirts
edges of her neck’s curve. prettyprettypretty
Tear her throat until she spits
blood, a fountain of thick water. Gash,
slice, defame the flower, drunk from
immense intoxication of elegant sweat
saturating the ending body. Exhale light
inhale death. Her amber eyes
stare at me as I wring out her last
cries of life. Peel flesh from muscle
like the thin skin from a grape.
When all meat is cleaned from her bone
statue, I lick the crimson,
salted on my tongue, red
as the pierced side of Christ.
Scrub, scrub myself raw, soaking
in her tenderness.
What happens when birds
no longer sing? Ghosts (whores)
surround me in a vast circle,
shake worms from their curls, gathered
around piles of bones and clicking jaws,
slivers of virgin torsos separated
from their spines, trophies of my pain.
What does it mean to surrender to envy?
Drain my body of tears, douse me
in burning angel skins,
piece each shred of their skin
back together. I have
no blessings. I need my sin.
Let the black frothing water
grab me by the ankles, take me
behind God’s eyes.
Slay the creature, burn my center, free
my enslaved heart, a hole
where happiness and youth once hung.
Fling my corpse into the unraveled universe,
trapped, immortal, traced in stars.
I’ll never surrender.