Eyes due west to the setting sun.
Shadows that elongate on rippled sand.
Her colors, bright, belie the shadows.
Headdress a cold blue, like the ocean ahead
from which emerges the quiet moon.
She watches, unflinching, the drowning sun.
It bubbles and moans beneath waves of burning sand.
It is night, the long, cold, night.
Her lips are free, though his hands still felt.
Eyes no longer watch for shadows.
The world is loud with shadows
screaming the blood songs of night.
The day has died and must be mourned.
Young mother stares unblinking into darkness.
Daring the shadows to near,
to touch her son’s sallow cheeks,
to wrack his brittle bones,
or taste his breath, bitter with soured milk.
She no longer fears shadows.
Husband’s hot touch is memory,
his control broken.
She will not blink at the threats of death.
For he is known, and they are free.
Though he chases, she will not wither, though
she watches through the shadows to the dawn.
He is still there, in the shadows.
A small voice cries in fitful slumber.
She is vigilant, will be strong, for him.