“This Is Why I Love You” by Lynette Mejía

I may be a dragon with cruel teeth
that cut you, sharp claws that breed
infection, offering a thousand hurts, death
by degrees, but still you come
back every time and what does that say
about us?

Maybe you like it. Maybe
you think you deserve it.

When you met me before I was meek, not
like a dragon at all. My claws were soft,
my teeth filed down to squares, abominations
of dragonhood. I wore a chain around
my neck. I let everyone tell me
what to do, a circus tiger, declawed
and defanged, and you, thinking yourself
brave, sticking your head in my mouth.

I wanted to hurt you. I wanted to
eat you up.

This time, though, maybe you really are
brave, maybe I should give you credit
for coming back and for staying, for bringing
me the souls of virgins when I hunger, for
allowing me to chew your bones when the virtuous
are in short supply. Maybe at some point we should
call it even, but I’m not quite ready to let you
go. Not yet.

Lynette Mejía writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror prose and poetry from the middle of a deep, dark forest in the wilds of southern Louisiana. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Rhysling Award, and the Million Writers Award. You can find her online at www.lynettemejia.com.

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