Mary Soon Lee

RETURNING

Through darkness,
King Xau rode with his guards,
changing horses at every way station–
hurrying the startled staff,
following them into the warm stables,
that smell of horse, of hay, of leather
as he helped tack up the horses–
his heart pounding as if time
were running out,
but the demon dead,
the kingdom safe.

Through freshening wind,
Xau rode with the eight men
who had shielded him
when he could not speak,
who’d woken him when nightmare wracked him,
when the demon called in his brother’s voice,
night after night–
his guards beside him,
then as now.

Under moonlight,
Xau rode, not quite himself yet,
wind drying his face.
Khyert dead.
Khyert, who should have been
riding beside him.
Xau rode,
home within reach;
his children, his wife,
the thought of them,
the need for them
driving him on.

Copyright © Mary Soon Lee 2016

Mary Soon Lee won the 2014 Rhysling Award for Best Long Poem. She is currently at work on an epic fantasy in verse, part of which may be read at http://www.thesignofthedragon.com

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About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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