He lay face-up, on his back, like a corpse.
He wouldn’t speak so I bit him, trying
after five thousand years to wake him up,
pressed to his side like a cat.
He thought himself a dying dog
so I pawed him, suffered his wet black jaws,
kitten-hunched, bent to his huge skull
and cut him with my claws.
He once said all women were animals;
wore each tail like a bandage—
my sleeping, jewelled Anubis.
Made me his snow-soft Persian
to warm his buried bones
but still he wouldn’t speak
as I tore him, my whimpering king,
underworld and underdog
who holds his dripping tongue.
We could fight in hieroglyphics,
lie flat in the freezing crypts.
But I could match his silence—
sanded claws etching his belly,
writing my rattling name.
Bastet pearled red from his skin.