My Ardent Friend by Lawrence Moore

She leads the way and I must follow

from my bed, into the night,

past the windows of the lovers

with their candles burning bright.

We hustle through the merry drunkards,

sampling their unholy grog,

tiptoe past the snoring watchman,

slip a morsel to his dog.

On breaking out, we hit the meadows,

trampling down the farmers’ rye.

Light recedes, though stars are blinking

ever brighter in the sky,

but she, unmoved, seeks greater darkness,

disappears beneath her hood,

scolds the stars, decries the open,

takes us deep within the wood

and there, as if by prior appointment,

spies a large and crooked tree,

opens up a secret tunnel

leading downwards endlessly,

so we descend for many hours,

blisters are about to burst

till the passage splits in two

and without pause, she picks the first.

The way grows larger, then grows louder,

breaks into a concert hall

in the midst of quite a party,

of a kind I can’t recall.

The guests (I think they’re almost human,

give or take a tail or two)

dance with graceful, lost abandon,

paint in subtle water hues.

I look at them, they look away,

yet recognise my ardent friend.

someone passes her a key

and once again, we must descend,

but now the way is growing steeper;

rougher, darker, danker too.

Another age goes by before

we step inside our final room.

I look around in candlelight

and everything begins to fit.

I spy the handcuffs on the armrests;

passively, I stop and sit.

She leads the way and I must follow.

No regrets, the dye is cast.

I placed my life upon her platter

many, many seasons past.