World Lit


Today we read the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Fat textbooks, new and stiff, lie open

to fluorescence reflected in cinder-block eyes.

It is 7:30 a.m. Darkness loud as a stone

crackles windows frozen to minus twenty.


Dino Mendez, long legs splayed from the front row,

dreams of his lady. Tiffany pops her gum,

curls bleached hair around her index finger.

Surreptitious notes, hand-to-hand, blend boyfriends

with plagues, battles, infidels, magicians


and the dubious comfort of a sun god

who forces us to rise, cold and alone,

this January morning in the dark.

We discuss the Adoration of the Disk –

how even titles mirror society,


agricultural or high-tech. We chew

on that awhile, then pick out lines we like:

chicks hatching on spindly legs,

a sea full of hieroglyphic fish,

birds engraved on rock.


A woman forever stamped on papyrus

stares out at Lindsay adjusting her mascara.

With adolescent languor, they dream

their own poems: a car revving power,

a coach preaching teamwork, questions


about God or where stars go when they die;

stories of grandpa in the war and their mothers

tucking them into blankets at night,

kissing their foreheads with cool lips.

adoring the dawn in a poem four thousand years old

that reddens the sky then and now,

tomorrow assigned to Dante’s Inferno

sandwiched between the Pledge of Allegiance

and morning announcements.


                                                                               Donna Pucciani