Electra to Orestes

Who but the mad would wait ten years,
A brother’s return, to seek revenge
We might have had  on any morning?

Dark kin are you in very truth
Come all this way  from my own village.
Your ways and words  remind me
Of what I am  in my soul.
Burdens laid down  long ago
Charges and trusts  cast aside
Obligations  I betrayed
Necessity  I abandoned
In long years doing  well enough
Burying my heart  in petty things
Growing slow toward  a death in life.

All the while  behind my eyes,
The hind’s body  clad in blood
Our sister’s death  upon the altar.
Sacrificed  to speed the ships.
Vengeance  gone cold;
Betrayed  on his return
Our father’s death  in the yellow dust.
Our mother’s hand  steeped in blood.
Huge in the gate  lions stare down
I am not stone  to watch unmoved.

Not enough to walk and speak
Clean of death and call that life.
I am a mass of half-healed wounds
Black with old blood raised scabs
That bleed anew to your touch.
You stand firm and offer peace,
Restoring law you change the world
And excavate my raw soul.

This be my death, then I go willing.

Spring 1996, Lancaster