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Tied up to the fencing
enduring brutal beating
I am not the horsethief.

Paint my pony
friend from foaling
speckled hairskin like a mating
Mother Earth with Father Sky
gone a-roaming then was taken
here I tracked him to reclaim him
but I was captured too.

Now the lashing has attracted
other presence
gait uneven
little body self-flung painful
against my bloody naked back.

Blindly raging he unknowing
lands four more blows
while her crying
rains hot tears on my shoulder
salt soaks into broken skin.

Sudden stopping then a dropping
bullwhip snaking into dustcloud
beside his booted feet
she is standing
I head turning
see glitter teardrop in the corners
of his angry stormblue eyes.

Both sides bloodied
she approches
bravechin outthrust
boldly limping
hand outstretched now demanding
shrillvoiced sunny maiden
of eleven summers
leg and foot turned inward
waits atremble
while he silent
shamed shaking
hands to her his blade.

Stumps she over
empty handed touching jawline
gently turning
makes me meet the bluegazed
Wisewoman inside her
telling her the stories
that I hide behind my eyes.

Satisfied her searching
raises knife right handed
to liberate my braid
and then my bindings
holds me with her eyes.

Hair hangs loose and lifeless
til she wraps it like a promise
around her tiny wrist
blackhair bracelet for a maiden
not old enough to know.

Walks to Paint my pinto
somehow seeing which I wanted
brings him by the bridle
challenging her brother
solomn faced stands handing me
the handle on my horse.

Rise I to my feet now
tower over tiny spirit
encased in bloody nightgown
touch Paint on his shoulder
say Mine in my language
drop once more to my knees.

Gaze touching twisted leglimb
lifting up locking our sightlines
touch her back her bosom
bring fingertips to mingle
together the two essence
bled from both our bodies
touch her forehead with the blending
and then I mark my brow.

Hold her hands
one still fisted
around a short-shanked knife hilt
meet his blue eyes with my brown ones
say Mine in my language
slide bridle from my pony
watch her while we walk away.

* * * *

Braid grown again I ride back
leading four fine horses
for her brother as a brideprice
one for each snow I've waited
to claim this firey child.

Honor her bloodsister
make her into mother
cling to her handfasted
I have come to take my bride.

28 September 2003


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The following comments are for "Bridle"
by Cybele





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