Illustration of the character Calliope, from my novel ‘Unhuman’.
“Play for me.”
His voice is not as she expected,
it holds an ancient youth that confuses her senses,
pleasant in the sensuality of soft syllables.
Without reason, she does as he asks.
Her mistress had predicted this drifter’s arrival
and had given detailed instructions.
But whatever Calliope had expected,
it was not this.
Her lips perk a knowing smile
as she grinds the bench loudly against the quiet
and glides her legs in one smooth turn
beneath the piano.
She exhales, mind focused on the hem of her skirt as it slides
several long inches upwards, upwards
the long chocolate rivers of her thighs.
She dares an amused peek towards Zades
to imbibe his admiration
as that soft skin glistens beneath the dim, sallow lights of the cabaret.
He doesn’t seem to notice.
Her long fingers quiver as she retracts the fallboard,
her fingertips wet as they slide
slide against the key’s accepting ivory.
Her bare toes tap-tap-tapping the sostenuto.
A habit she’d willed herself away from
when she was nine.
And as the first note diffuses
into the musk of the cabaret.
The world around them dissolves to sensation
and succumbs to the Muse.
Illustrated with ink, 2013.