The anarchists had built their clockwork egg,
it sprouted knives and cut the Tsar in half,
Rasputin’s with him in the photograph,
A gout of blood splashed crimson on his leg.
He chose to help the living Tsar, checked skin
for cuts or bruises that would bleed him out
in minutes. From the wall he took a knout,
lashed the automaton to bits. The din
of screaming maids of honour made him turn
and calm them with a gesture. His pale eyes
led him that night between the mourning thighs
of Alexandra, in whose bed he’d earn
the Regency, keep Holy Russia free
of progress and its dark machinery.