Ériu’s Lament

I heard you coming in my dreams. It was
no surprise to see your silver ship glide
over the mirror of a waveless sea, the five
gold rings of kingship at your throat, the pale
starlight of your eyes. The stillness
was everything I expected, the sharp crunch of sand
under your boot the sound that stilled my breath.
All that, I knew before you came.
I did not know I would tremble
at the nearness of your touch, the whisper
of your breath on my cheek. I did not know
I could fear when I had such longing.
The moon was a silver halo behind your golden
head. “It is a good night for lovemaking.” These words
were nothing to the desire on your lips
but I saw in your eyes that this
was not a beginning but an ending. I would lose
the dream I had so loved, that had turned
away the wooing of all my people, for the reality
of you, and of your leaving. That knowing held my voice:
“I made no tryst,” though my heart called me liar.
The smile was a fire in your eyes. “What need
for a tryst?” you asked, and I bent to my desire.
What heat, what knowledge in holding
all I had wanted though every joy was a  wound in me.
When you stood, your ship shining its summons,
you asked why I wept. “For two things—
that I love only you and not a man of my people,
and that you are leaving.” You seemed surprised
I knew, as if you expected me to think
you would stay, but you did not correct me, did not
pretend I was wrong, just gave me a ring,
not for me, but for our son when he would need you.
“And have you no name?” I asked, twisting
the ring that was too large even on my thumb.
“Elatha, king of the Fomoire,” you said, and named
our son as well, and left. Could I have killed
my love then, I would have done it.
You never asked my name.

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