Chivalry as spit on a face

Chivalry as spit on a face
by jamh

She gave him a rock and said
Love this! This fistful of sand!
Love. He kept that for himself.
She was dressed in colours
and they danced in her face,
adding, as bright as they were,
neither adornment nor scar.

What if I gave you more?
This mountain? This stream
of diamond water, each drip
a uniquely cut gem
slowly wading down
by all the Shahs who sat
amidst their loot of war?

What could he say to that?
He knew the land. It was woven
much by the magic of men.
Men dying by spears, by toil,
by the power of thought,
men dribbling their poetry,
men thrusting their wives
down wells of chastity
while arrows evened out
their humility and pride.

Where are you from? She said.
From right here. No, originally.

His shadow part of him,
sword in hand, the last one,
the other to shield his eyes
from the shifting land.

From dust to dust
she continued, unaware
that not a soul was in sight.
Were they really that many?
Hardly anything remained.
Their iron constructs
defenceless against the rain,
their stories lewd, pointless,
even if beautifully spun.

A gazelle ran, followed
by the cloud of a clan,
an elegant youth galloping,
ornate, peach-fuzzed,
gloved hand to a taut string.
But there was no such thing
as a running beast.

She transformed back
to her human form
and laughed as the sun rose
to compress to a point
the only real shadow.



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