Dragons and Drams by Melissa Ridley Elmes

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Narrated by Melissa Ridley Elmes

Morning came all scales and fire
raining from the sky; this was
not in the weather report. We awoke to a
sudden summer storm in serpentine form
visible through the window of our bedroom
spewing flame afore, smoky jetstreams after,
streaks of red and orange, black and gray,
like a Jackson Pollock painting hanging in midair,
all illogical lines unmarred by anything
like sense and order. What the hell, you said,
I’m not drunk enough for this. You rolled
out of bed, stumbled into the kitchen, returned
with two double drams of our best whiskey,
handed them to me, and crawled back under 
the covers. I passed one of the glasses back
to you and we toasted the unknown and the
unknowable, tasting smoky peat on our tongues
while brimstone rained down on the roof,
fired up our neighbors’ homes, set the roads 
ablaze; the wild calls of those windsnakes
shook the earth, echoed in our ears, rippled
like thunder across the soundscape, got us
thinking: if this is the end of the world
it’s not so bad, cuddled together in bed
snug under the covers, all dragons and drams—

and then the screams began.

BIO: Melissa Ridley Elmes is a Virginia native currently living in Missouri in an apartment that delightfully approximates a hobbit hole. Her recent poetry and fiction have appeared in Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope, Spectral Realms, Illumen, Haven, Reunion: The Dallas Review, and various other print and web venues, and her first book of poetry, the Elgin Award nominated Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems, was published by Dark Myth Publications in 2020.