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Defeat

I was twelve that cold spring,

old enough to be with the women.

At dawn, they let us go to the field

to make the holy rites of death.

I remember, my mother wept and wailed

as she beat off the carrion crows

that blackened my father’s face.


A Thracian claimed me as his prize;

I bled on the flanks of his horse.

Later, he washed away this ill omen

with water caught in his bronze cup

To please the gods, he turned me off

to hobble behind with the others.

I hid my bloody skirts in shame.

Defeat: Text
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