Mending Dragons - Mary Cook
Damaged in mind and wing,
they come to me...
This is no way to earn a living - wrestling broken dragons to the ground.
Damaged in mind and wing, they come to me, roaring a language of garbled vowels, pitiful to hear.
They weep that freelance knights have used their lances all too freely.
But they resist my efforts to help them, struggling against me as in their death throes
And I must use restraints while cursing their foetid breath.
It scorches my tunic and catches at my throat.
There's not a lot that I can do about the bloodied snouts or fractured jaws.
I patch and wire them as best I can.
But the wings.... now those I can fix.
Drawing down my art and craft, I hammer copper into overlapping scales.
I defy you to tell them from the dragon stuff.
Burnished and enamelled, they sing out their colours in the sun.
But are those dragons grateful? They are not!
Their constant hunger counters any thought of gratitude.
With eyes mean as arrow slits, they fix their prey.
Bombing to the forest floor, they hold their claws outstretched to hook a deer or village child.
Then, stretching wide, they fly away, exhaling fire and sulphur as they go.
One day they'll get my hammer arm, and that will be the end for me.
It's not the way I'd choose to work. We dragon menders are a dying breed, slaves to a deadly craft.
My uncle died weeping blood from an empty socket. That could be my fate too.
This is no way to earn a living. For it will prove the death of me.
Mary Cook is a writer of many years' standing whose poems short stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online. Her main writing interests are humor, horror and folklore. She's the author of the ebook, Collywobblers - Perverse verse for Guys and Ghouls, as well as the business manual Money in Honey.
Cover Layout by Amanda Bergloff
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