He took the wood from me and bound my wrists
and ankles like a ram’s. I did not fight,
but lay there, waiting as he struck the flint
and breathed the ember into flame. He kissed
my face and said my name one time, as slight
winds lifted dust into his eyes, then turned
and drew the knife. I watched the oiled blade glint
against the sun, and I—who would have burned

himself alive to please this man—I smiled.
Knife poised, he touched my hair and said
he loved me more than any father loved a son.
I showed his knife my throat; his eyes grew wild
with awful love. My reprieve came then, un-
binding me from him. I lived instead.

[From Confrontation 114]

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