fill moats with dead bodies,
pile catapults with excrement
near a thousand flickering fires.
Quivers of horn and wood
hug arrows for their intended.
Ashes of men rout a birch
with locust memories.
Now I pour ashes into my palm
and blow breath on them,
men who ride into a season of slaughter
and disappear beneath a saddle.
When I was a child,
my mother carried me on her hip.
I wore boots as soft as doeskin.
One day she found a mare
escort to a pool of water
between shoulders of earth.
The sky grew black. I could see back
to the beginning
before I was a nub who held a horse's mane
and breathed its sweet sweat.
I sat and wondered why people kill each other
and then scatter to the strongest hand.