the golden horde inherited a love of arrows
the horde hunts among cypress trees
the horde fears only scorpions who stalk horses
the horde kills those who drink another man's horse's blood
the horde spares Jews, retains them as oracles
the horde celebrates only boys favored by sparrows
the horde prepares a julep of lemon, angur
, and wine
the horde endorses only archery for women with daughters
the horde burns balconies
the horde burns everything taffeta
the horde feeds its scouts peacocks and caviar
the horde forbids poems ending in idle fortune
the horde is the hoof of the worldThe Horde Reflects on Conversion
A white eye, dimpled chest, weak knees:
The body overcast with imperfection.
Of Frankish purity, we only know its failures:
beauty before use, gold shields and swords
before the quiet bow and the black standard arrow.
We know the wiser shapes.
A shallow chest and unsteady breath
become a scout to make a falcon blush.
An eyeless young boy:
on the anvil, a demon at work.
A bowlegged child:
a gold-maned horse's God.
We only need the willing, we only take those
whose bodies bear God's neglect.
The pure take a town and make
gold from the arm and the eye.
We string our times with one thousand lines of black.The Horde in the Fifth Evening On the Endless Plain of Fortune
We begin hunting sheep. The sun has lowered
and, like other packs of animals where
male and female work in pairs, they hover
around their young and face the world there.
We'll meet them twice in three months' time:
First, by the large white river,
Second, on the black rind of the valley.
Mare's milk? That's a thing of the past.
We're the hoof of the world.
We set the fires that veil the air behind us.Zal Reunites With His Wife
The yellow-eyed sheep leer at grass
Inside we sleep for days in a room by the sea.
Your clothes dry on the terrace,
linen, yellow; sandals, black.
After a love-shout one night
You roll to your side and speak:
martyr's name is used only in exclamation.
It breaks the carafe that holds the night's silence."Comments on Rudaba in Labor
O she could have killed Zal when he only brought a feather for the pain;
She was held down by nurses in the royal bed, her uninterrupted,
lion of a child sharpened his body inside, and against, hers.
The nurses attend each limb. They clean her hands, her hair and her head.
Rudaba sees the mountains in the distance.
Sugar and jasmine swing from each nurse's belt.