In Egyptian art, one archer stands
For all archers,
Their contour drawn from his thigh, his shin, his chest,
His bow and quiver,
A deck of desires slightly spread.
Archers are technicians; this frieze
Shows their discipline, how they draw
As one, their almond eye a blank
Surface calm as the strings unsmile,
Sure of their ruler’s mission
The moment their missiles
Release. And one frozen thought: at full moon
I will recline with lovers and lyre again,
The string’s tension gone,
The twang become strum
And gentle stroking, the hand leading me
Not hungry for battle’s bloody plain, but
Through curtains, softly, to a bed
For my quiver, subsiding, incense slowly rising,
Drum only of rain and conversation
—Not arrows, nor plucked Assyrian eyes.
This war will save my life.
This appeared in the July/August 2013 issue.
Derek Webster is the founding editor of Maisonneuve.