#poem #poetry #amwriting the muslim's tale xiii

mid-tress she sets aside the hairbrush
doolia unveiled to the window goes
twice skips her heart to hear the horses
arrive at her father's stables down below

but no suitor comes - just traders -
wind-eaten men of wrinkled eyen
who sail the steppes in search of gold
breaking the backs of ponies in a line

and always black flies come too
that feed upon the saddle sores
unkempt shaggy mares dry milked
limp on - on hooves worn to claws

seeing her tears lotvia removes her sister
leads her back to the dressing table
to pots of rouge and talc and scent
and the jewels to match the silk and sable

each passing blood moon dismay
brings more beauty to the music played
as they count the notes of sisterhood
they stave the confine of this gilded cage

promise after promise has been broken
each promised day they dress with girlish chatter
yet no man comes - just a dumb eunuch slave -
while their father and the judge grow fatter

for they alone by ancient rite
must wait a man to meet the merchant price
though each sister objects this base
as grateful women they keep their place