“Here We Are Dragons” by Jennifer Crow
With our wings folded against our backs
we seem almost human, our scales
a fragile glint like jewels, and the smoke
curling from our nostrils just a sign of life
on a cold morning. We have given up
our piles of gold and gems for knowledge,
hoarding wisdom in our closets and cupboards
or with the clumps of dust beneath the bed.
You might mistake us for human women,
mortal and frail or perhaps fierce but broken
because that story makes us seem
more pliant, our nature erased
the way a hard rain washes away
portraits of chalk or footprints on the path.
You might mistake us for ordinary beings,
until that moment when our jaws gape wide
and our claws unsheathe. We allow you
that last error, as we draw in our breath
and howl a firestorm. No, we do not respect
your authority, nor even recognize it,
for it was never asked of us, only taken
until we summoned the will to seize it back.
Jennifer Crow has been writing speculative poetry for more than two decades. Her work has recently appeared in Asimov’s and Mythic Delirium, among other venues, and her poems in Abyss and Apex and Dreams & Nightmares received Pushcart Prize nominations. “I wrote this poem for my daughter,” she says, “one of the most fierce and amazing women I know.” You can find Jennifer on Twitter @writerjencrow.