Portrait at Faiyum

 

she contemplates a different world
and balances her mind
between hot clamor days
and dark darker darkest tomb

poses for a mummy portrait
needful for her afterlife
artist laid upon a plank
with warm lumined beeswax strokes
catching her alive and pensive

she foresees her body wrappings
redolent with almond oil, palm wine
and pine resin for a sealing

mourns a desiccated body, natron shriveled
bereft of brain and liver…womb
identities … all canopic jarred to ancillary

tastes bitterness at the thought
of priests touching still-ed magic
from the even tempo of her heart

and now her pulse and sweat
and tear washed eyes
and eyes…and eyes

see through from being
and a slipping plane to plane

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artist Unknown
Woman’s Mummy Portrait, 70 AD
Hawara, Faiyum (Fayum) Basin

fayum coffin OIPKZBT01M8

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