The sun sets over the land of the dead,
And we in the East watch,
With open eyes
And beating hearts,
As the water laps at our ankles
And licks at our toes.
We are nobles and workers alike;
Separated only by respect,
And watchful glances,
Waiting in unison for the ships
Progressing around the bend.
The Nile is flowing,
And it will soon be receding.
The crops will die;
The wine will sour.
But the gods are alive on the water,
And they are golden and painful.
They bob up the river
With strong-backed men rowing,
Others on land
Towing them along,
Heading South toward friends;
South toward the congregation.
Even the gods must get lonely,
Sitting up in their stone temples,
Hiding behind false doors,
Waiting for a priest
To feed them and give them wine;
To awake their senses with gobs of incense.
The black sheets cover the gods,
Their presence known not
To the likes of us;
Mere workers and nobles waiting to die;
Mere humans building more homes.
We cheer as they float past,
And chatter about who protects our home;
Protects our babies from hippos;
Coaches our mothers
And sisters and daughters and nieces
Through birth of the unknown.
We do not hold doubt
in our hearts or minds.
We watch and we believe.
We dream and we think.
We return to work and home.
We do not hold doubt in our hearts or minds.
We do not speak it in the presence of gods.
ANNA DENISCH was born and raised just outside of Baltimore City, but she has never called it home. When not traveling around the world or daydreaming about dragons, she spends her time looking at books she wants to read without actually touching them. She received her M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University.