Judith, Taking Leave
C. E. Whitehead
Again the pale figures bend past the tents.
Stars rise and fall as always on the encampment.
Guards believe now what they believed then,
That the brilliant cloak on the window is the cloth of lust,
that she walks dully with a maidservant
and a sack weighted with provisions,
that she is possessed by what she possesses,
Or by what she leaves in the widening dark—
the encampment in her background,
the secret she now carries—a king's bloodied head—
in a sack that she has carried from the start.