I had meant to post this Antinous poem back in October, but was stricken by the death of my brother at that point (and a lot of attendant responsibilities).
But as we end this unpleasant year, here it is.
Gold in the River
A body drifting down, veiled by the murky and turbulent waters,
Kissed by electric fish, drifting along where many others had drowned
Beauty and tragedy, screened off by the dark waters that had
Witnessed the scattering of a primordial god’s body in time immemorial
Who was acutely aware of others drowning in the great river
That had eternally given life to the Two Lands—
To the black alchemical soil gift of the river that was Egypt.
The gold of that myth, guarded by the sacred oxyrinchus fish,
Deep in the mud, flashing, a fluctuating glimmer.
Here once upon a time the elephant-nose fish had eaten Osiris’ phallus,
And the goddess Isis, having re-membered his dismembered body
But not being able to find his penis had crafted a golden phallus
By which she impregnated the seed of the god into her womb.
Things like that are not forgotten even by a river.
A golden lamp in the murk:
How a lost swimmer aims for that promise.
Another has taken the water road of Osiris, that golden road,
And will be brought into the halls of the Underworld.
Only they can now touch and attend the sacralized body;
Long will be the myriad rites of god-making.