Scheherazade
            How can this compare with what I shall tell 
            you this coming night, if I am still alive and 
            the king spares me?One Thousand and One Nights    
Scheherazade must stop the light from entering. Her face: not blood but cut ruby. Her smile: a string of pearls. Tonight she resembles my mother. So like a girl’s apartment is her royal chamber, the king like a stranger breaking in. Tell me a story, he says, Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you. Shadows of chairs become foreshadowing and the door a frame to frame the tale.  Narrative is her neck encircled by his hands. Of proverbs, she has none. Of flowers:  the bruised rose, the crushed anemone.  Of the king with his fingers on her collarbone, she has this to say: that silk may be used for strangling, that a girl may stab to the silver hilt.
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