Summer 1950 • Vol. XII No. 3 Poetry |

Head of a Smiling Priest: Limestone, Egypt

I have the questions, if you incline to answer. The goat Dionysos, goat-hungry, who ate himself, Was he self-consumed or self-satisfied on your altar? Glutton or martyr drip reddling his beard, or the lie Of the two that are one first lied in a god's beard? And when the Black Pig set the old gods' flight into Egypt, How many temporary temples thrown up and quotas For displaced gods before you closed your borders? Where was your god-patrol the day the child-god Cached in a woman was smuggled across your border? And knowing the fourteen contested forms of Osiris, Decreeing your one of the fourteen true Osiris, Could you know one part of your one-fourteenth was Osiris? The sister-warmed loin or the hacked swallow-mourned head Yours, and Osiris, born in no month of no year.

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