Gourd-shaped muse swollen
with wind in the mulberry,
tell me everything you’re made of,
little desert boat of Ra.
Oblong box of Bedouin doves
pecking pomegranate seeds out of the air,
you’re the poet’s persona, his double
in the high priest’s third chamber,
each string a litany of stars over the Sahara.
Pear-shaped traveler, strong but so light,
is there a wishbone holding you together?
I wish I knew how to open you up
with an eagle’s feather or a pick
whittled from buffalo horn,
singing alive the dust of Nubia.
Rosewood seasoned long ago,
I wish I could close your twelve mouths
with kisses. Tongues strung in a row,
I wish I could open every sound in you.
I envy one blessed to master himself
by rocking you in his lonely arms.
Little ship of sorrow, bend your voice
till the names of heroes & courtesans,
birds & animals, prayers & love songs,
swarm from your belly.