I have not always been thus. A macabre trophy. In my time I have lived many lives, and witnessed countless secrets. We handkerchiefs are confidantes. Conspirators. Carried in places that are seldom touched by others. Nestled deep in sleeves, or bound tightly to corseted bosoms. Always near the pulsing throb of life. Oh, and I have been the keeper of sacred fluids! The soaker of secretions from brows to the holy of holies. Acted as a cooling poultice for the most frenzied desire, or the carrier of heady, musky scents from one distant lover to another. Embalm’d to inflame. Palm reader and eye-drier. Sin-eater. Oh, I have soaked away tears both inflicted and self-induced. From my very birth. Though none have I felt as close to as my creator.
A sorceress made me, and kept me hidden always. Contoured in to the tree-branches of her stretchmarks all the livelong day. For nine long months I was created in the dark, though not a horrible birth had I, once bought to life. Stitch by stitch she picked me out at night, by the light of the moon. Deprived of all her possessions, she poured instead all of her love in to me, for the child blossoming within her womb. I was both his birthright and birth gift. From his toddling months to leaving for Cyprus I was touched by none but he, and he had soft hands. Not easily did he give me away then, for within my weft and warp lay the very fabric of his heritage.
I really do read palms. Or Did. Their sweat spoke to me. The caress or clutch of fingers was as expressive as words. More, because heat and movement are truthful, just as words deceive. Why Desdamon once inhaled the scent of her lord from me with one hand, and soaked herself with desire with the other, for nigh on a whole sultry night. Such power had I. Once. The hardest part was seeing, nay feeling all, and being unable to reply or intervene in the betrayal. To be the vehicle of vile destructions but deprived of a voice. What privilege, and what torture. Cassio would tell you that reputations are stained. Besmirched. As was I by the end. Wrung and creased with being pawed and pored over. Sodden with wants and hopes of others. It is a burden being imbued with powers as mighty as letters of holy writ.
I could abide all but Iago’s hands. All hands have their merits, but never his. The driest, coldest and most acidic digits I have ever known. As if all desire and pain and longing in his body pooled in his blood and bolstered his schemes and lies. I felt his love for Desdamon, though it was not love to me. Twas a possessive, peevish want that had nothing noble in it. Oh but his poor wife! She was brimfull of kindness and loyalty. Even for him, the snake. Yet I suppose that she, if anybody, saw the best parts of him. She must have loved him indeed, because I felt her burn with shame for secreting me away from my mistress. I would give my all for even that warmth now. Now I am cold. Pressed flat and dead between Venetian glass formed within the workshops of Murano. A talking point only. Hanging high on the wall of this citadel, where three of my bearers met their end. Due to me.
© Tom Tide 2016