her lips are bloody and the crown sits broken upon her head.
she perches on a throne of death-- of famine, unrest, and anger. her people’s blood stains the streets, and the children leave red footprints walking across the stones.
the children with skin tight from hunger and bones poking out from under their thin clothes; with strong legs for running and sharp eyes for stealing. they listen, they watch, they hide stones and knives behind their backs.
they sleep in the city whose walls are red with brick and streets are red with blood, whose tall chimneys and slanted roofs scream of stability but are crumbling from beneath.
this city is dying. the locksmith’s shop was broken into and smashed to bits; the locksmith was beaten to sleep. now his wife and children are penniless and starving in their beds, slipping into death in the night.
the grandmother’s bakery has no food and the markets on thursdays are empty. the gangs and the groups kill for control and those alone are fleeing. the wind isn’t quite winter but it will be soon, and it’s sweeping through the broken windows, through the burning buildings.
this city is dying, and on her throne, the beautiful queen waits. she waits for the end, for it all to be gone, for the smoke to replace the flame. her body is curled there, a cat on a pedestal, calm and sharp and cold.
it’s a beautiful, broken kingdom for a beautiful, broken queen.