That Old Duo

Jane Yolen

Life and death,
that old duo.
Watch them dance.

It is a two-step,
And they bas-relief
on the castle wall.

He holds her firmly
in his dark hands.
She pretends to faint.

He places her gently on
the couch, administers

Not for resuscitation,
but titillation,
her tongue licking his.

They laugh, that old duo.
What else can they do.
Nothing is funny any more.


Jane Yolen is the author of over 370 published books including 10 books of poetry for adults. She has won two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, the Jewish Book Award, the Kerlan Award, the Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, a nomination for the National Book Award, as well as six honorary doctorates. She was the first writer to win a New England Public Radio’s Arts & Humanities Award. Despite her many awards, she has this warning: Don’t go chasing fame. Just write. One of her awards set her good coat on fire.