Do you remember when we played so long ago in the mud of the rising Nile?
You and I as children giggling as we watched life spring forth
from what once was a sea of red sand
we played soldiers and slaves and some times you were Isis
and sometimes I was Osiris
but more often just a slave
Do you remember later standing up for me when soldiers came and Pharaoh decreed
that I, nameless, along with all the other nameless ones standing frightened in the reeds
was chosen to build a monument to his greatness and likely we, the nameless mass,
would die before its completion?
Chained we were as the soldiers marched us toward that site
where we toiled through endless months of moving rocks
carving those narrow passages that only the closest to Pharaoh would know…
Remember how we counted our days wondering which one would bring us water or mead
and which would bring us darkness and never again..
Remember the lash of the whip
the cuts on our bodies
the harsh burn of our blistering skin
I remember your smile as you came for one after another
taking them to the altar of your husband, Osiris
I called him Khenti-Amentiu and you smiled ever brighter
You were the promise of a merciful death and he the provider
You stood up for me
gave my name to the wind
You stood up for all the other nameless ones and gave their names too
one by one you prepared your scales upon which our hearts
would be weighed against a feather of Ma’at
so important as it was the rite of your husband
who would then decide if and when
where and how
we would return to life again like the sprouts we played among on the shores of the rising Nile
Do you remember when we were young
laughing amongst the reeds
sensing we had stood there before
shaking at the will of a king
Remember when we looked down through dunes for the top of his tomb?
Knowing that once others looked up
Remember the actress’ voice as she portrayed Isis
and smiled at us
beckoning us toward the stage
where she had placed a scale
and a feather?
And remember the actor, Osiris?
In my mind I called him Khenti-Amentiu
and I held you close
knowing that some day we would again be granted mercy
and again our return decided.
You said you were a feather
I said I was a butterfly
As you slowly wafted toward the platen of the scale
I flitted playfully beneath, around and above you
To Corey and Marcy March 9, 2013
___M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D.