Letter from Shushan
Mordechai kept a jaunty pace,
even when he passed the yammering
eunuchs, peacocking the utterances
of the trinket girls, momentarily
made more than their mothers' laundresses.
There was never a mime
about Esther, harping for henna
or halva. Hegoy's favourite
took what he gave her.
Esther's uncle Mordechai
prayed for silence,
another day without distinction.
After a year of oils and myrrh,
of perfumes and potions,
the unblemished girls spent
one night with the king.
The next morning
they were taken
to the second harem,
into the custody of Sha-ashgaz.
Never allowed to leave the palace,
never to return to the king,
unless he called for them by name.
In the seventh year
of his reign, at the end
of Esther's year of preparation,
she was taken before the king.
Ahasuerus loved Esther
more than all the women
and gave her Vashti's crown.
She pleased him
and Mordechai's pace