Pinwheeled edge-seen spiral of stars in a calm night, waves lapping.
Did your damascene-clad warriors ever reach Kashmir?
In the lands of cinnamon and citrus, the answers rage.
The high Himalayan meadows, scattered with tiny flowers of spring:
so far from home's coral-cut beaches, from my friends' beloved kowhai, droop-boughed by blossom.
Their skills with powder-keg and palisade caught the attention of those distant powers;
a quick offer came of spices, and far more to us, engineers.
Coerced? Convinced? We went, to fight their wars of strange machines,
sought out the hissing steam and flying shells to disturb those glacial valleys.
Our contract paid: that cold place no war I'll seek again.
Michele Bannister lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Stone Telling, Ideomancer, Jabberwocky, and Cascadia Subduction Zone.