and her twelve companions
ride through the Dardanian Gate,
ride through the courtyards of Ilion,
feeling the eyes of gawking city-folk,
about their adornments of fur:
the leopard pelt
around Penthesileia's shoulders
lending her its strength,
the deerskin leggings
the streaming foxtails
about the illustrations
telling each woman's story,
her name days,
her first hunt
her first battle,
drawn into the skin
with blue-black ink.
about the blood-metal bracelets
that represent the links
of each woman's heart-chain.
about their flowing manes of hair
from the sunrise red of the sisters,
Alcibie and Derimacheia,
to the coal black of Thermodosa
to flame-haired Polemousa's golden locks,
to Hippothoe's white-streaked brown,
to far-throwing Evandre's
in the manner
of her birth-tribe.
remarking on bodies
so deceptively child-like,
to the impressive battle scars
up to towering statures
"Great and terrible beauties,
one and all,"
a Trojan man remarks.
"An assembly sent by the gods,
if they be not goddesses themselves."
Penthesileia wrinkles her nose
at such loathsome and ugly talk,
and steers Thunder
to the other side of the yard.
Antibrote collects the Amazon mounts.
Trojan grooms offer stables, brushes, and oats.
front hooves pawing the air.
"Whoa, girl. You are safe now,"
reins in hand,
and strokes the mare's sweat-soaked flank.
"We are all safe now,"
with a more doubtful tone
and a look all around.
the twelve companions lean on their spears,
like tired sentries
after a double-shift of guard duty.
scans their surroundings.
"Have the monsters followed you,
even into these god-built city walls?"
Penthesileia shakes her head.
"They stand outside the gate.
Can you truly not hear them?
They howl for my blood."
"I believe that you can hear them,"
"Daughter of Ares,
we all believe
Continuing from the end of The Iliad, an Amazon comes to Troy.