Erotic Love Poem, Form G-4

After the early winter sunset, the castle is lit up by the arrival of the messenger — news comes once a season here, at the halfway point between the capital and the border. The messenger’s horse must be stabled, the messenger must be fed, the kingdom’s goings-ons must be relayed aloud to the duke and duchess. The feast must be apportioned onto plates, the plates then have to be cleaned at the end of the night, and the fiddle needs fiddling before people dance their way to tiredness, sleep. At the end of it, the messenger’s wife pulls him to bed and holds him and looks at him. “Were you scared,” she says, low and into his chest, “riding through the dark?”

“No,” he says, holding her. “There was a light.”

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