The Last Emperor

The black pearl clicked
Against his teeth 
As they slotted it
Neatly into his mouth.

Its steely glaze
Gleamed coolly through 
His lips' creases.  
His temper was subdued
To death, his silent thoughts
Clotted the air.

A thousand courtiers
Knelt and touched their
Foreheads to the floor, 
Their robes of crimson silk
Billowing like sunset in
The playful air. 

He lay, oblivious of
The banners, the pomp, the
Solemnity and reverence of
Breathing.  His gem-encrusted
Bodice was latticed jade; his
Pearled fingernails unmoved;
Diamonds whitened his purple
Headdress; the closed 
Eyes in his face meticulously
Outlined in kohl.  A ruby
Was placed deferentially
Between each toe, the pulse
Of blood encapsulated 
As faceted symbol.

In the silence of his
Body all he could 
Remember was the
Stiff cold hole
In his back
Ridged and yellow, the
Indelible track 
Of a serrated blade.

He lies in state, his lustred
Life reduced to 
An expensive imitation.
Oblivious of his wealth's
A thousand people 
Kneel and touch their
Foreheads to the floor
Glad at the death of their last Emperor.
Adam's Mirror
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