Morning. Hana pulls the covers off,
looks at Xau's gaunt body slatted by light
from the window shutters.

     Xau inhales her before he sees her,
     the smell of her faintly mixed
     with leather, grass, horses.

She fingers the stark jut of his ribs,
but doesn't voice that he looks
too weak to ride to war.

     When he touches her,
     he is not the king,
     he is as nervous as a boy.

When he touches her,
she feels the pull of him,
the reason men follow him.

     He kisses her, tastes her,
     tries to be slow, to be gentle,
     but he is neither.

Hana pushes him onto his back,
rides him on that brief wild gallop;
she is not gentle either.

     Afterward, he doesn't promise
     to come back safely,
     only tells her he loves her.

Easy then to lie,
to say she loves him.
But she does not say it.

If he comes back,
if they are given time,
he is a man she might love.

If he does not return,
maybe she will wish
that she had lied.

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