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But why would you need to cut off your breast to shoot an arrow? Not one female Olympian in all the archery competitions ever has resorted to self-mutilation to get where she is.

Have you even used a bow and arrow? I pull the bow string back to my ear, not my seventh rib.

][

A gray blade again
and women fighting down

in the upper hall. Sisters
of bronze and horse tail

helmets. After the drumming,
after the fall, defeated

Amazons
were marched

through fields of suet, bloody
rain, slime-dark pools. Now

I care for ancestors – Sal,
Ruth, Menhit, Alala,

the Morrígan sisters – a nurse’s
work. They wait; horrors

and a Journey to the West
and they wait. Each must

go leaving me behind.
Drumbeats I can’t hear.

Rattle of swords. Something
comes, to claim these souls.

There is no defeat. Hate
burns. Love cools. I

care for sisters, athletes,
fighters. Here comes

the taps, here
comes the drums.

][

A gray blade again and women fighting
down in the upper hall. Sisters of bronze

and horse tail helmets. After the drumming,
after the fall, defeated Amazons

were marched through fields of suet, bloody rain,
slime-dark pools. Now I care for ancestors –

Sal, Ruth, Menhit, Alala, the Morrígan
sisters
– a nurse’s work. They wait; horrors

and a Journey to the West and they wait.
Each must go leaving me behind. Drumbeats

I can’t hear. Rattle of swords. Something comes,
to claim these souls. There is no defeat. Hate

burns. Love cools. I care for sisters, athletes,
fighters. Here comes the taps, here comes the drums.