A Tavern Folktale
your name slips from their grinning mouths sloshing sips of ale
while covered in tavern warmth
your wingspan! they vaunt,
wider than the snowy mountains,
your fire—fierce and fervid as the sun!
a hoard that would spill over the oceans
guarded by tapered teeth dripping blood
from freshly crushed corpses.
there’s no beast as strong,
no human as greedy,
no god as grand,
and no world you couldn’t conquer!
naive, starry-eyed men
carrying bravery and little else
climb our peaks of gold
in search of glory, conquest!
but in face of your armored skin—
stronger than dwarven iron
and elven bronze—
they realize no weapon can pierce your infernal heart.
from behind the cage of your curled claw, yellowed bone thick as earth
and nearly as old,
their regretful faces reflect on mine
as the stars burn out.
they become one of many,
joining our collection of no-bodies
no tale to their name
and none to be gained—
their only relevancy
to be claimed by your maim.
then, I’m grateful I’m beautiful enough
to collect not kill
silk skin of heaven white
smooth and opaline
worth more than
all your treasure combined—
the kind of beauty that
eternalizes my name!
for they praise me
revering me in their careless tavern folktales:
and its pearl.
Biographical Note: Jasmine Liang is currently studying Writing & Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara and plans to pursue writing as a career (if she won’t starve). Born and raised in California, her works feature recurring themes of the ocean and sunny but tiresome summers. She’s previously been a staff writer and editor for youth-run magazines. Now, she can be found doing photography, playing video games, or listening to the Chuckle Sandwich podcast. You can find her on her instagram @jasminexliang.