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