From there I go down to the women’s quarters, to see Bathsheba. The two of us continue to react in opposite ways to what has just happened. While I have regained my vigor, she has lost hers. I find her lying there, on the ground, utterly motionless.
Meanwhile, my wives have gathered around her. Some of them are whispering amongst themselves, others—wiping a tear.
In between them, light falls on her, catching her hand. By the glistening you can tell it is damp, because she is gripping her breasts, where the pain is the worst. Her milk is still welling up in them, still flowing. She is silent, but her body is still screaming for the child.
The notion of giving her a voice, expressing her suffering, recording this moment for her in my own poetry, crosses my mind. I figure that if left unspoken, this grief—combined with the shortened mourning period for her husband, Uriah—will catch up with her later, and tear us apart.
Then I try to forget all about it. I cannot write her pain. First and foremost I must find a way out of my own.
I try to comfort her, but she seems to be far away, locked in her own grief. I raise her to her feet and carry her—all the way up the long, circular staircase—into my chamber. Kissing her I taste the salt of her tears. I smell the sweet fragrance of her milk.
Then I make love to her.
For me, this is the only way I know to fight off the presence of death. For her, at this moment, the fight is over.
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