Choice, by Ann Groa Sheffield


How will you pass?               Quickly, perhaps
in a welter of blood                that waters the field.
Or will you lie wounded,        left on the war plain
broken and helpless,             struggling for breath…?
(merciful wolves                    will hasten your way.)
Or mayhap you’ll linger,        laid on the straw
wracked with fever                and feebler each day.
Swift or slow,                         the end’s the same.

How will you see me?          As screaming harpy,
bloody and taloned,              tearing her prey?
Or some vision                     out of Wagner—
stern and fair,                       a fearless maid
With spear and shield          and shining mail?
Or will you sense                 my own true skin—
born with sadness,               old as strife,
but caring still                       for each I claim.

–by Ann Groa Sheffield. From Idunna, issue 101: Valkyries

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