Queen Hatshepsut  written at the DeYoung Museum,  San Francisco



I lie in the archaic pose.

He has placed a vulture headdress

upon my head—he, the bull ram dog,

cut my black tresses with his

scarab razor.

Nite closed his lids

on these eyes of day,

forced my two hands together,

a golden ankh.

But seven celestial cows

hollered after the moon.

The starving gazelles

nibbled at my ears.

What is left--a fragment,

my relief, a false door,

shut tight by the king of falcons.


With yellow hands and red bones,

I remove the wood coffin—light

as a Paris winter. The granite

cascade of 3,000 years could not

drown this impulse I feel, this

sympathetic vibration with the future.

I have passed through many windows

and bridges to reach here.  I have

suspended blue, turned the water keys

with Nile eyes drawn to the woodpecker

drum, a hydraulic movement called history,

passing from Egypt to America.


A female pharaoh survived water thunder wind

and white echoes to sit in the museum of fugitive art.

Her hands have gone missing. The body always

moves towards sound—the round sound, winged

sound, sustained brass.  Between this queen and me—

a harmonic interval, a perfect space, half a wilderness.

Through 3,000 years she has come to me

with the innocent music of the vastness no more.

She speaks through the ancient voices of children.