The soft poison of love.
On the dance floor they sway to the music. Amber lights, clatter of plates, low throb of conversation. His hands, heavy, fleshy, curled around her waist. Her arms across his shoulders, her wild leonine head pressed against him, the ripe bruise of her mouth trembling against his throat. Across the room their faces are cool and distant, abstract and beautiful.
The impossible bezoar of microfilm, encysted in her hair, swallowed down into the cauldron of his belly.
Across the world, across the seven seas. In a high tower they meet again: his face, restructured, turned to the west, her muzzle sweet against his neck. Crack of shifting loyalties and he topples, open-armed down, so far down. She is gone, a whiff of sulphur and saltpeter, but they will meet again, in other times, other places. Always the game and the rhythms of the dance.