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This poem is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.

Five Poems Claudine Toutoungi

There may be jealousies even within your own family.
Some would prefer you in pieces,
stoppered in jars or shrunk to the size of shabti –

reduced to a walk-on scrawl in your list of descendants,
your story rescinded, papyrus redacted and your big, fat
heart gobbled up by a ghoul with flat eyes.

Let them try. Let them cling to their version.
No flurry of wings to swoop in and save you,
no solar-charged chariot raising you up,

just dust and oblivion. Meanwhile in amulet fragments, orpiment, resin,
in Apis the bull on your footboard, faience and sycamore, ochre and
mud, there you are

cliffhanger –

you’ve lasted millennia
for those you know will make you whole again.

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