He Tells Tales of Meroe

by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

As if his croak sounds from stone itself
As if his voice in darkness is stained with the timbre of eternity

When I first saw him alone, lost in thought,
poised behind glass,
I recalled how his sperm had once spawned from the suck of motherly mud
to snatch prey with spit
A camouflaged trickster,
awakening each spring with his mates
to a spring of mating

Now an enigmatic relic behind glass,
perhaps he tells tales of Meroe –
witness to that city’s sad trajectory from glory to dejection

In this, his last siesta,
he readies himself for life
with his new cloak, a new tongue and his crown