Apostate

A loyal steed, a silver sword, a light to limn my brow
I left behind: betrayed, and bent, and gone.
Cast from the precipice, book, bell and gown
And rode, red-handed, with the dogs of war.

By moonless night I trod, a murderer.
Buried my sin unsaid, unsalved, ungrieved.
Broke faith: I burned its sons who still believed
And shut away the screams until they ceased.

Ahead of hosts I marched, and desolate
My hoof and boot and belly left the land.
Save scarce oases. Green stains on the sand
Where bone and basalt rise in parapets.

What horse’s tongue has touched my tainted skin?
Why do I dream of silver in my hand?
Why do I wake with sunlight on my brow?