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                  I remember . .  .
       I was a priestess
        looking down, I can see my feet
          shod in sandals of river reeds
            my body free and naked
               a necklace of seeds
         swaying slightly 
              between my breasts
       my hand resting
       on the nape of my friend
          a large, warm, softly daydreaming tiger
             . . . we had grown up together
              he was a kitten in my cradle
          with me every moment
          as I slept and played

     I remember that day vividly
       standing there with my hand on his neck
           I can still feel the over-arching shock
         the helpless inevitability
      My father, the village chief
         had just told me
            I was to be
        the next virgin sacrifice

     As priestesses we understood 
         it was always
      ... sacrificial offerings ...
       but I never wanted it
        never thought it would be me --
           the daughter of the village chief

     He said my power was
                and pure
      The village was
              and tainted
          it needed me
                      my sacrifice
             to restore its rightness

     I remember feeling stunned
              as my father walked away
             casually logical
                leaving me
      in a dense swirling fog

     I hazily remember
              Balesh rising
       calmly from his daydream
          my hand still tangled in his fur
             he began walking
       I mistily remember 
          taking the first steps
               beside him

        Many footsteps we took together
         without stopping
             I vaguely remember the walking
               walking together
                 walking without stopping
                   walking together
            at a soft
           soothingly walking

            gone away
                  far away
                    from the fires
                         of my father



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