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I ran through the red palace
Searching for Scheherazade
Hoping the stories she sweetly sang
Could lull me to an untroubled sleep.
Traitorous traps stood in the way
And cool courtiers bargained for my favor.
Never did my brown eyes see those of the Caliph
Though his painted proxies abounded.
When I found her I called out
In my black armor, my helm in hand
First she glared
Then she laughed a throaty laugh
“You think me the captive and he the captor?
My dear, you’ve got it backwards.”
It took me years to understand her meaning.
But in that moment I stared blankly.
The eunuch guard confiscated my arms
The vorpal blade that fears no God.
I left crestfallen
Though thankful for my heart’s blood.
The sharpest tool left to me – an axe
I whittled the rest of my wearied life.