How can this compare with what I shall tell you this coming night, if I am still alive and the king spares me? – One Thousand and One Nights
Scheherazade must stop the light from entering. Her face: not blood but cut ruby. Her smile: a string of pearls. Tonight she resembles my mother. So like a girl’s apartment is her royal chamber, the king like a stranger breaking in. Tell me a story, he says, Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you. Shadows of chairs become foreshadowing and the door a frame to frame the tale. Narrative is her neck encircled by his hands. Of proverbs, she has none. Of flowers: the bruised rose, the crushed anemone. Of the king with his fingers on her collarbone, she has this to say: that silk may be used for strangling, that a girl may stab to the silver hilt.