Ravenheart by Valerie Parente
Illihana was born with a Ravenheart
a sanctum dark as midnight
so debilitating in its comfort
making a cozy life from her demise.
Each vein black and branching out
scaring off every knight
like spiderwebs on her skin
or cracks on a doll so pallid white.
This blackness, it infected it all
every touch, every thought in her mind
she couldn’t control its presence
so she hid during the daylight.
She made a home with her ravenheart
grooming pride instead of spite
isolated from the fear she drew near
and in men’s fear she started to thrive
emboldened by the way her beauty
was so personal and precise
something too scary during the day
and too camoflouged to touch at night.
The grit, the grime, the gore
was never worth a common man’s fight.
But Sir Dovetail was no common man
he was so resilient in all his light.
The prince spoke to her in the pitch black
getting to know her dark side
and he didn’t care to run away
even when she cried.
The love was glorious, the love was grand
the love made her start to realize
that isolation that once consoled her
no longer felt like a source of pride.
When she had to leave her prince before dawn
she wished she could leave the ravenheart behind.
She could accept the darkness for her sake
the way its wrath made her writhe
but what she could not come to accept
was the way it impaired his life.
Though never once did he express distress
never once did he resent her strife
but she knew that deep down
he missed having her in sunlight.
Illihana emerged from her cave
with dark veins in plain sight
and as the townspeople stared
so did Dovetail in delight.
When he finally saw her blackened heart
he couldn’t help but notice her beautiful eyes
so big and bold and brave
and oh he loved how they shined.
– Valerie Parente (2-11-2022)