A Hundred and One Nights of the Falcon

Where I come from, no gift comes in round numbers. No ten
Rupees is ever given, it is always eleven, a token
Of not finishing, not ending, the extra one a harbinger
An invitation, a wish, a granting of plenty, of more
To come. Auspicious, we call it. A bringing to the fore
Of a promise for the years before the young. Where
I come from there is a tale of a clever woman who staved
Off death with a thousand tales, each one saved
For another night won, a full thousand and one. Where
I come from, legend has it that women sat vigil not
One night or two, not a couple, a handful, a dozen, a
Few. Stories are told in hushed tones of a full hundred
And one, every thrower of stones has heard it, every
Wielder of guns. Songs are sung of the women of the night
Who spread their wings, became falcons, and took flight.

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