Calliope: Shadowplay.

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Calliope: Shadowplay.

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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.

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