By Richie Hofmann
The Pharaoh who loved me died.
They put his body in oil and linen.
In life, he called me pretty birdy.
I pulled dead feathers from my side for him, I practiced
holding his finger. We both were chosen
from among our kind. He sent slaves
to a room they never came back from
and once a wife he didn’t love. I love
the marble shape of him, packed with fragrant herbs.
Priests attended my cage, like doting women.
Then a man put his hands on my head
and I felt the air no longer. He barely touched me
I was so breakable. The cats were mute, like death.
The jackal-headed man held my heart.
Does the earth belong to him now?
If there is a soul, I don’t think it can let go
of such splendor: his silent mouth,
his brain, like mine, outside of him—though he walks now
in another place, in another perfect body
with a new wife to love him.