Farthest Thoughts
by Deborah Byrne

Mummy fragments were stolen, broken up and crushed into powder,
which was sold as an aphrodisiac well into the 18th century.
______________________________-From The Search for Ancient Egypt

No stone husband. No clay lovers.
She's been left with alabaster servants
to face the length of death. Buried
with hundreds of lapis dopplegangers
all smaller than her, they'll never help.
Someone (who could it have been?)
had a crocodile embalmed, as if this
would have made things easier. Maybe
whispered by a concubine
her husband bathed with, or the priest
who performed trephination
boring a hole in her head
with his obsidian knife,
they'd have thought, she needs
all the luck she can get.
She lies stiff with love or rigid
with fear among baskets of scarabs--
until Bedouin women rob her tomb.
Armed with magic formulas to outwit spirits,
their brains tingle with jubilant thoughts
of what they can sell, while hers rest
in a jar just out of reach.

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