Most of us in Intro
to Egyptology are grateful
for a smoke break in the rain.

The ex-paramedic
with the teardrop tattoo
blows half-broken rings

at the moon as he preaches
Osiris.  It’s clear by the sand
in his voice he’s lamenting

the tops of the pyramids
dissolving slowly in the wind:
“Tonight after class,

I’ll get lost on purpose
while driving a road
that winds through a forest

& consider the wasted
afterlives of the pharaohs.
What talismans

would I take with me
into my gilded tomb?
I’d want to listen to

the scythes of lightning
swing inside the sky.
I’d baptize my shadow

in the brushfires of Aaru,
an arsonist made heartsick
by the burning of the stars.”

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