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Love in the Land of Shadows

Poetry, Frankie Balzano


Sadie, I follow you

through the gloom of the endless wood

where the waning Moon leers down

like She knows

this night will drain the light from me, too

I cross the dark grove and meet you,

press my lips against the shell of

your ear, whispering

Let me save you, I will

save you from every bad thing.

but you tell me, I am the Bad Things.

Oh, Sadie, I know

I know, look -

look how the lake boils

and overflows

when you




Sadie tells me, our love is a darkness rising

and I tell her, look at me

Sadie says, nothing can

sate my appetite these days

and I beg her, let me be your everything

drink me, damn me

soon, I was to become

I was to become my choices,

my choices hanging above me

like a black rock waiting

waiting to fall on me

Sadie, how do we come back from this?

Sadie bends me over the altar fire and the flame licks me,

licks me up

ugly angels take me to Tartarus and

I let them


Sadie cannot cure my heartache

but she says she’ll cure my heart:

one part sugar to salt,

a handful of fennel seeds,

scattered citrus zest

to cover the fish stink

of decay

in a sterilized jar like

a glass womb,

she’ll keep me

unspoiled, forever


Sadie, let me be your everything

here is my bare flesh,

an offering

I’m spread over silk

sheets on the bed

like Prometheus

splayed over the jagged shore,

every tender part of me

ever ripe for you,

my carrion-eater

Sadie, you straddle

my legs, looming

over me

as you unsheath

the dagger and ghost

the tip of it across

my collar bone,


my sternum, you stop

midway to my navel and

our eyes meet

Give it to me,

so you do

white burning pain sears through me

like light as my blood

warms the bowl,

hemorrhaging my devotion


Sadie sucks the marrow from my bones

and tastes all the Love I could not speak,

savors the mineral enormity of it as she

trails her fingers through my tangles,

scrying our future like a Roman with my

liver in her teeth,

the copper heft of it promising us, eternity


Frankie Balzano (they/he) is a queer poet and grotesque storyteller weaving weird tales in Olympia, Washington. They are the author of the chapbook Spider Rodeo (Bottlecap Press, 2022). Their work has appeared in Sunday Mornings at the River Press, Angel Rust Magazine, Driftwood Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Oyster River Pages, among others. You can find their work on their website at and hang out with them on Instagram @holyfool.jpg


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