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The Blood Tithe

By J.D. Harlock in Issue Seven, November 2022

when the smog finally devoured the dying sun,
the creatures of the night
made a throne of the carnage
and a kingdom of the earth
whereby a tithe of blood was imposed on survivors
carefully culled and nurtured
to nourish the aristocracy
that neither grew nor diminished with the years

its members
who were present at the beginning
and who will be present long after the end
reasoned that
the vampires were owed this blood
for they had granted us law and order
in a world beset by anarchy and chaos

without them, they claimed,
man would shed far more blood than
what was needed to sustain this
law and order
in an uncompromising world
where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain

though revolting initially seemed our only recourse
fear and doubt had been sowed among the ranks who
reasoned that
this revolution was not worth risking this stability
that had allowed us
a comfort
in the days of anarchy and chaos

and so, our arms were relinquished
our words were self-censored
and life carried on
as we had grown accustomed to
with the years

ages and ages have passed since
and we continue to pay the tithe
for that tithe was present at the beginning
and will be present long after the end

© 2022 J.D. Harlock

J.D. Harlock

J.D. Harlock is a Syrian Lebanese Palestinian writer and editor based in Beirut. In addition to his posts at Wasifiri, as an editor-at-large, and at Solarpunk Magazine, as a poetry editor, his writing has been featured in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, and the SFWA Blog. You can always find him on Twitter and Instagram posting updates on his latest projects.

Poetry by J.D. Harlock
  • The Blood Tithe