The silence between breaths knows one fear alone—
itself. A loosed bow, an echo,
a nothing, where a thing once was.
Little lover, with your hips so thin
I could crush them in my two hands,
the things that draw the heart’s fire are so few
let me hold them a little longer.
Yet you have asked me for a story.
Sing, dragonsbreath, sing,
for his banner is here and dark against the sun.
When the mother dreams, of eggs in nests
or little ones nosing at her flanks, she knows;
Those dreams may crack and spill like careless eggshells,
all yellow and spotted across the dust.
When seaman round and red takes up the helm, he knows;
He feels the deck shift, smells those dark waiting gods
that never do give up their dead.
Let us consider worst of it: those fields we knew,
white and listless. We miss the wind among the summer grass;
the grey banner, my general, this gentle king.
With sword arm, he took my hand
With shield shoulder he raised me up.
I was only a young girl in her father’s desert.
But such is the way things pass,
and I have not learned to bear it yet.