Becoming Count Dracula

Hair oil, a center part, zinc oxide
To whiten the complexion. Lips
Carmine, evening wear, bow tie,
(Omit the silver cufflinks)
Bat collared cloak to spread aloft
When landing on the balcony
Where a pale blonde in a negligee trance
Awaits the fanged kiss.

A full moon grazes on a field
Of black moire. Arrogance is also
Required, and composure,
As the windows of the innocent
Swing open. And dancing pumps,
A riveting stare across that
Cliché of crowded rooms. Daylight
Is to be avoided and forget confessions
Of the coffin, the chambered cellar
Or the curse of the undying. You know
The ending: a good man
With a cross and a pistol with one
Dazzling bullet and his companion
The old and kindly doctor
Who wields the stake.

Was it worth the disguises, you may ask,
The bone-rattling coach ride through
The mountains of Transylvania, the peasants
And their platitudinous torches. A little blood,
A little fame, the late show
Where you styled upon the staircase
Haughtily awaiting an introduction.

—Joan Colby


BIO: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Ribcage, from Glass Lyre Press, which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.