Haunt of Thieves: part five

Posted by ractrose on 24 Sep 2018 in Art, Poems

Stylized photo of satellite-viewed encampment




Haunt of Thieves

Part Five


The sun lights Aantahah’s teeth like molten gold and falls

Fang-red through burning crevices of rock

Gafeidda’s boot-soles tread clay, tortured in ice-forms

The Shepherd sings prayer at the hour of offering

Aantahah mei’capeddre vorsairct

Mei’capeddre vorsac

(Ancient Father accept my sacrifice to you

Accept my sacrifice)

Now nothing can be gained but at the cost of suffering

And the Shepherd who like a comrade beckoned

Has turned his back

He kneels and prays to a stone face

And worse—“Your god,” Gafeidda says

Will topple with his blinded eyes, laid low

By the weight of crow-dung. Birds of omen use

him as their cess-pit. So lordly is your god…”

He steps from the path across fissured earth

And yet in doubt

Of finding strength to climb once more

He finds it

Burning anger rakes his arms like tinder catching fire

He strikes the Shepherd four times

“So great his potency―your god―that a dead man’s eye

Sluiced through the gut of a carrion-fowl

Paints him in malediction…and he bears it”

The hand falls

The chanting cadence had been broken only

By the landing of each blow

And now the Shepherd speaks

As though his work were done

“I will go with you.”


Where the night call hailing sundown

From the thieves’ den starts the crows

Buffeting from the summit with a shriek of wings

That marries to the shout of the lieutenant’s men

And twists like a thread of yarn into the mad baying

Of the dog pack

All come flying in a spiraling refugee mob

Like bats




Haunt of Thieves

Virtual cover for poetry collection Mystery Plays
Haunt of Thieves (part six)













(2015, Stephanie Foster)