Cersei Plays the Game of Thrones
In this realm of kings, a queen has little
currency. Beauty can be bartered
for such a short time. You believe
love can emerge from alliances built
to bolster power, to protect possession
until you learn you are not enough
compensation. Despite its allure,
my body cannot compete with a ghost,
a love lost before it could disappoint,
kept perfect inside a stone crypt.
I, too, am suffocating inside this iron
bodice, this walled city, this tedious game
played by upstart boys and old men. The impotent
nature of regency tires me. I am wasted
youth, lost time. I am always thirsty, always
hungry. I want all that is not mine.
At dawn I climb the tower, conjure visions—
my enemies speared on the sand,
dying slowly. Blood pooling like spilled wine
beneath ruined wolves and stags, beside
broken crows and conquered flowers, spent
arrows crushed in the jaw of my lion brother.
I will pile their bones high to be blackened
by the sun, turned to ash like fallen dragons.
Cersei Calls for More Wine
As a girl I lived in the sun,
strands of summer stretched
to their fullest length, lighting
the sea and the rocky cliffs, spilling out
to cover the world in gold. I wasted
years trying to bring that brightness
here, where the only light is iron
grey, cold and lonely. In the darkness
I sometimes think I died inside
that girl. Tonight I am imprisoned
with old women and children, slaves
and the girls who would become me.
Beyond the city walls, men fight
to little purpose, launch blind arrows
into the blackness, thrust futile spears
at unknown foes. My resentment
grows, turns darker as the hours crawl
over me. I have grown tired of taunting
the little wolf, her face wan and bloodless,
her slight frame taut with worry, with fear
for her brothers. My cheeks are flush
with wine. Her fear mirrors mine—
my brother chained. My heart rages,
beats uselessly on the bars of its cage,
stops briefly to remember him, golden
and strong, virile and wild. I want him
beside me, my head in his hands, his
hands on my hips. I demand more
wine, throw it down my aching throat
into my hollow stomach to cover
all that is still tender. I demand
more wine again and again and over
and over I drink. I drink wine and
more wine. I drink until I forget
I am all alone at summer’s end.
The Khaleesi Dreams of Her Dead Lover
Night here is always raw and black, always long
and full of terrors. Each night I dream the same
dreams, walk through the same brute visions—
golden sand and beryl sky, a fresh breeze
scented with fig and aster, stallions and mares
feeding together. In the center sits my husband,
my child, my sun and stars, my forgotten
happiness. I stumble toward them, clumsy
in this foreign realm, uneasy in this brightness.
I reach for their hands, their dazzling faces;
I reach across the desert, the vast emptiness
that separates the living from the dead, crying,
calling to them as if sound alone could conquer
death, could unmake the mistakes of unseeing
minds. My own heart betrays me, cracks open
the dream, sweeps sun, stars, husband, child
up into a fierce cloud of sand and sky, a storm
that strips my world of every beauty, every thing
I once loved. I once was the moon, changeable
and soft. I am hardened now. I am fire and ash.
I am awake in the long night, my new children
curled against me. They are calm in their sleep,
their scaled skin cool to the touch. Their breaths
come slowly—delicate bursts of pure, cold smoke.
The Khaleesi Speaks in Her Native Tongue
In every city, I am alone. The last
in my family, daughter of madmen,
mother of dragons. I am outcast
and exile, orphan and widow. I am
queen to slaves and traitors and
always a target, always the object
of rough hands and loose lips, subject
to leers, to the violent thrusts of hard
sweaty men spoiled by drink, ruined
by ambition. In this vile wasteland
I remain fresh and vibrant. I am youth
and beauty. I am unspoiled, unsullied.
I am heat white as the sun. I am blue
flame. When I call for your destruction,
I am speaking in my first language.
Winter Fell in Winter
Nothing is ever only itself.
Each small, ordinary thing
in this world is also another
thing, separate yet related
by old blood and old magic.
It all connects—boy and
brute, wolf and hound, crow
and creator, earth and salt.
In the north, winter remains
constant, the cold nurturing
rivalries and betrayals. A sea
turned white with ice, a land
overrun by demons. Ghosts
blend into snow banks, form
packs that streak through
dreams, fleet as foxes, fierce
and dire, like wolves, like
wild visions seen through
a beast’s eye. Prophecies
as wildfire, stark as war.
GILLIAN DEVEREUX received her MFA in Poetry from Old Dominion University and works as a writing consultant in Boston. She is the author of Focus on Grammar (dancing girl press, 2012) and They Used to Dance on Saturday Nights (Aforementioned Productions, 2011).Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, most recently Handsome, Anti-, and The Good Men Project. Gillian likes robots, monkeys, gin, film noir, and the library. She can be found online at gilliandevereux.com, streaming pop music from the cloud.