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SPHINX CHILD

Child of the sphinx,
In your golden eyes
A millennium of small slaughters
In the gold of the granary,
In the warehouse, or in ships at sea;
In Egypt of four thousand years ago
Parlaying a useful propensity
For the taste of rat and roach
Into a culture's devotion.

This morning, on the outhouse roof,
Your paw preens fur,
Silk in the sun,
Feathering the wind
With the ruin of the first kill.


At day's end, a lumpy bed;
A lightbulb
Burning like Guernica.
Your body burrows into my blankets;
Your head
Butts at my flank,
And your textures
Predict the sun.
Your throat
Purrs.

This poem SPHINX CHILD was first published in Outrigger Volume Four Number Three, May 1980 (ed. Tim Pickford)(Auckland, New Zealand) (page 92). First appeared online when posted on the zenvirus.com site by Hugh Cook: 2005 May 7 Saturday. Copyright © 1980, 2005 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.

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