Herod and Salome: The Dance of the Seven Veils – a poem by Cynthia Pitman

Herod and Salome: The Dance of the Seven Veils

“Dance the Dance of the Seven Veils” begs King Herod. “I will give you anything you desire.”

Salome sways,
and the first veil
floats to the floor.

Eyes half-closed,
she lifts her chin to the molten moon.
The second veil slithers down
her arms,
her hips,
her legs,
and follows the first to the floor.

She lowers her chin,
turns her head,
and, throat pulsating,
she bends her neck back,
shaking her ebony hair.
The third veil falls.

Again, she lowers her chin.
Again, she lifts it.
She parts her lips.
The fourth veil falls,
caressing on its way down
the curve of her throat.

She arches her back,
breathes in, then out again,
again and again.
The fifth veil floats to the floor,
falling to the fourth.

She straightens her back,
rotates her hips,
slow, languid,
around and around.
The sixth veil slides down
to the fifth on the floor.

Now there is one:
the seventh veil.
With the thumb and finger
of each of her hands,
she takes the seventh veil
by the corners.                                                           
Breathless, she pulls the seventh veil down
her face,
her neck,
her breasts,
her body.

It falls.
She stands still,
reflecting the moonlight
with her body of porcelain.

She smiles and says softly,
“Bring me the head of John the Baptist.”

So cold to the touch.
So cold to the touch.

Cynthia Pitman began writing poetry again this past summer after a 30-year hiatus. She has recently had poetry published in Amethyst ReviewVita BrevisRight Hand PointingEkphrastic ReviewLiterary Yard, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Postcard Poems and Prose, and Leaves of Ink. She has had fiction published in Red Fez and has fiction forthcoming in Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.

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