A mountain city pushes rock fingers
beyond the clouds. The descent is difficult,
but the view is beautiful. I follow
I will soon need a torch.
Wild dogs run by me in dusk; ahead
there are shouts and fires:
they are attacking the encampment.
Green grass pushes my hurried feet;
I run low
to avoid being seen.
I stumble into the opposing camp;
I am speared.
I awake in a small house:
she tends me. Her father and mother
look at me sternly. When I am well enough,
I will say things to make her laugh.
Outside on one crutch, a deep sense
of the land fills my limbs. She shows me
its textures: many have followed its ways,
many also have forgotten its touch.
We visit the city together. Men
in passing trucks
mock us. Another man,
drunk, tells savage stories;
my anger chases him through the streets.
Harvest. A speech-maker tells "our story":
crossed-stars and wild magic, a flourish
of doomed endings. Others clap. We fold together
I realize she is taller than I am.
I take her to my grandfather. He questions
this strong, fine warrior. Her answers
satisfy him as no others have before.
He tells me she will bear my son.
We return to her village, but
I know I cannot stay.
A hand shakes my shoulder; the vision
wavers; the story and the magic drain away...
By our house, at night, the fires leap
higher than our dancers. Our child’s limbs
flow strong and true. There, she smiles our pride
back to me, bravely. I catch my breath