sister in the fire

dirtwalls are redbrown dried and hard
outside the desert sun presses down
inside the excited murmuring
of dark faces in liquid robes
suddenly hushes
as all turn at once
to look at the one
who brought them there

who was now
sitting there against one wall
shamelessly allowing this woman
who was known to be a wanton
caress his feet with her hair

his face as he looked at her
was all that kept them
from descending upon her

for a long moment
only the tender rhythms
of her body moving in the stillness