His knowing shifted when he saw her turn”
when with the cautious sliding of his eye
he caught the fatal movement . . . silent lifting
. . . slight, and slow, and strangely automated
turning of that proud, familiar chin
She had never thought to question.
As he asked, shed fixed the sudden guests
a feast. Shed baked the bread and brought the men
their wine and kept her silence as they made
Perhaps he should have told her more
or held her for a moment as he said,
"Its time to go. Collect the girls and don't
look back." If only he had told her then
what he knew now: that there was nothing like
the steady comfort of her dusky flesh.
If he had given her just time enough
to say goodbye a womans way; to pray
with her instead of simply passing on
Gods man-to-man demand . . . she might have
made it through without that nagging need
to look once more, that lovely human gesture
of regret that left two fragile, willful
daughters motherless and him with only
this white trophy mocking his obedience.