Zaltu the archeress
of the tent-stitched tapestry of autumn air,
a bow resting on her shoulders.
Her bow will be made of mature cedar
grown by the lake teeming with trout,
your bow will be made of silver oak,
hard to bend, but full of music and precise.
You will both comb your long hair
so that it falls evenly
like a net catching the birds
of the enemy's glances.
Her crimson robe with green circles
and your umber robe with flying swans
will be joined by their belts
pulled to each other and tied in a knot.
She will speak to you in pure Akkadian,
and your replies, in a dialect, will seem
a handful of wilted chamomiles
thrown over the fence into a luxurious garden
by a passing beggar.
Your bows will bend like the wings
of a swallowtail prepared to take off.
You will see the triangle of her throat,
at which you will aim,
above her collar held by a chain with lion's paws,
the chestnuts of her nipples pushing the inside of her robe,
you will be aiming carefully, trying to be steady and calm,
and your death will pass almost unnoticed.