By Robert McDonald
After bathing in the dragon’s blood, we begin the long ritual of butchering, the serrated knives themselves cut from dragons’ teeth, as no other matter will pierce that rocky hide. “This dragon is smaller than the one last year. The goddamn dragons,” grouses one old-timer, “get more puny every year.” Still, we light the bonfires, the blood scabbing and lurid on our faces as we dance. Near dawn, drunk on mead and lack of sleep, dizzy with drumbeat, we fall to the dirt, and rut, the red weight of every night before this one strapped to our backs and scored with ash. The priests peel the dragon’s heart for roasting, and search wet ropes of gut for a sign of next year’s fortunes.
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Robert McDonald's writings have appeared most recently in Six Little Things, Apparatus Magazine, Literary Bohemian, and Right Hand Pointing, among others. He lives in Chicago in a tatty coach house, and works at an independent bookstore.
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