Yelysaveta At Home
She waits for the snow to subside,
for the horses to come charging home
like warriors. Is it a flight of desperation
or does victory sound in the thump of hooves
echoing through the tattered forest
on the long way back?
His words of farewell are still soft
against her ear even though weeks have passed
and she’s been alone with the two girls,
gold combs and silk ribbons strewn across beds
while she tells them stories about the city
built on three hills near the wide river
where she grew up and played with her sisters.
He wrote love poems to her. This she tells
her daughters as they run from the windows
and tumble into her lap, full of questions
as why and how and more-more-more
swirl in her face. They are excited as birds.
Soon she will drape silk scarves over their heads,
tell them of the Viking warrier who jumped
the iron chain of the Bosphorus and came back
to find her. She will tell them how at first she said
no to the warrior and to her father and to the long
journey north. She danced with her sisters
in the moonlight for years after that but one
night she remembered his face – weathered
as on the day of their farewell. For the first
time she woke to the memory of the Viking’s smile.
Soon it will be dark and she will share her stories.
It is the only way she knows to keep him safe.