Moonlight Soul Shopper

   Midnight moonlight sliced through window boards
   into the river tavern like a hot moist tease.
   Does casual choice bring its own rewards
   or does chance make up its own penalties?
   Straight in she burst as though everything they'd ever sinned,
   violent as wildfire, as loose turned open as a hard winter wind
   losing any and all controls,
   like men grasping at their beers for any pleasure within range,
   like women wrapped at their poles.
   She asked "Who here wants what you're wanting most to exchange?
   I've come here shopping for souls."

   For each customer a uniquely crafted flirt,
   for each piece of soul a close fitting bait.
   Tonight only pleasure, no one gets hurt,
   nothing to hold back, no need to wait.
   Her shopping filled the shot glass to every risqué toast,
   her trade in kind proving you ever only sacrifice most
   what you most already lack.
   Each ran up the tab no thought to what might get owed
   when the glitter had faded black,
   lining up rounds on the house years on down the road
   on the odd chance she'd be back.

   Left last sat a stranger only passing through —
   "No thanks," he resisted, "my soul's all I'm not.
   My heart's already stolen by every love I knew.
   I lost my family wealth, my real name I forgot.
   My head's gone lost the instant this crazy journey commenced.
   Forgive me but no, my soul's all I've left going up against
   what's left of who I am.
   Neither magic nor science nor darkest art
   will get to me, sweet ma'am.
   I'll not shop my soul, it's the only part
   for which I give a damn."

   "Your name I will put on every man's tongue.
   The most precious riches'll be yours to own.
   Your heart, your love will go back to young.
   Your mind'll be the greatest minds've known.
   Don't decide between, you're not forced to choose
   one or the other, take them all, what's to lose
   that you wouldn't want to?"
   Her lips were the wheel, her eyes the dice,
   her body the devil's due
   doubled down as the stranger named his price,
   "The cost of my soul is you."
   As darkness turned away flew our buyer's kiss,
   as darkness turned back lay our seller's loss,
   at morning's first light came a lover to miss
   and a silence with no song to make it across.
   The hole left in moonsetting fog where she'd taken off
   felt so real, he could feel her word calling back soft, soft
   as away his own word passed.
   And when the music driven through forgotten dreaming stopped
   in the shadow he now cast
   was when he knew his soul was not the first she'd shopped
   nor was it to've been her last.


2 Responses to “Moonlight Soul Shopper”

  1. 2010.08.08 at 9:02 pm

    What a fine magical tale…just loved it!

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