Was It Last Night or a Life Ago?

A Poem

Was It Last Night or a Life Ago?

Was it last night or a life ago?
When I was an old, frightened Pharaoh
turning in hapless circles like a wounded ape—
my eroded kingdom—eternal!
from my torn veins—of gold!—flowed like the Nile
into the open sea—
the crimson void from which every wide-eyed, terror-stricken question
is answered only by an abysmal, mocking echo of itself.

Unartful deception.
What fool into folly’s pit falls for loss of reason?
Were it not for you, Sun Seed—
and your hot breath on my libidinous ears
I would’ve long ago ceased to be.

I flail against the tide of vile crimes—
mine own and those of my tribe
that you, Sun Seed, so lovingly bequeathed me.
Dare I scorn your dispensation?
For I do so love life … love both you and life,
lamentably. Were they not one and the same.

But that was last night or a life ago.
And now on this, the other side,
both you and life seem not so far apart.

On this, the other side,
unfolds a water lily—
a womb from which a scarab born
skitters, half-circles—it rolls its ball of dung—
You! The bright, burning Sun!
Drying up all the pain in my bones—
to which birds worship in unbridled song—
to which even the doddering trees with limbs uplifted glorify
from which a weeping, young boy is born—
each of his tears a man or woman made.

It was last night. It was a life ago.
Fallow night I dread you so.
But now I stand trembling
under the infant sky—
and you, Sun Seed, flower at her naval—
and still I breath
heaving within this mortal womb.

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