SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Family Portrait as the Golden Mummies of Bahareya

A couple faces one another

as if in conversation.

This is how they were found.

 

Now they lie in vitrines

like fish in facing tanks.

Could not speak if they

 

could speak. They were

dressed for their death passage,

not to be specimens in glass.

 

Her bare breasts shine

like doorknobs. Linen

wraps for the poor, gold

 

masks for the rich, eyes

so lifelike excavators

gasped when they brushed

 

the dust away. The revolution

left no money for excavation;

thousands of mummies

 

still lie in burrowed tunnels

under the houses and roads.

The dead do not ponder

 

revolutions, but they like

to sometimes be considered.

Small mourning statues

 

were found in the tombs,

meant to eternally weep

at their side. One man

 

is a merchant with a Horus crown.

Tolemic, someone says.

Our son points to another’s

 

thickly outlined eyes.

He is awake, he says,

but does not answer.

 

A stone girl, five years old,

too poor for a golden crown;

my daughter, also five,

 

asks if they’re the same

size—yes, almost exactly.

For a while, this is how

 

our children will think of death:

gilded bodies that keep their shape,

wide-eyed and adored.


Andy Young is the author of four chapbooks, including the just-published John Swenson Dynamicron (Dancing Girl Press), and a full-length poetry collection, All Night It Is Morning (Diálogos Press, 2014). She teaches at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Her work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Southern Review, Waxwing, and Prairie Schooner, and has been recognized in contests by Black Warrior Review, the Auburn Witness Poetry Award, and Consequence Magazine’s Women Writing War.

Kitchen Meditation

Cargoes