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He sees the towers rise into the sky and wonders if he was once a god or a king or a man with two gold dollars to rub together. In a life before life, was he locked in his sar-

coughing as a bus rolls by and he inhales the stale gasoline air and wonders whether–  

there was once a gold top atop the grand pyramid; now there is only stone. We stand amongst wonders of stone and steel, and marvel at the delicate tyranny of the open sky. In times of old we stand clad in gold and we wondered whether–  

there’s a Cairo, Illinois, where the Mississippi carves its way between three States. There’s a Cairo, Georgia, just north of Calvary. Their pyramids are nothing but memory, their Niles are dressed –regal– in tarmac and stone. The men of Cairo sleep fitfully, dreaming of temples that rise up in defiance of an empty sky; they wake amongst TV dishes and cell towers, and choke their way to work along roads that wrap around the land.

Where is Moloch now? We can see him no more than fish can see the sea. His teeth are chrome and glass, his heart beats with the brittle tick of a monstrous clock. His eyes are LCDs that hum and glow in the dead of night. Moloch, eater of children; taker of teeth; salesman of dreams. We sit in tombs of gold and wonder whether–

a man sleeps on the street with his old coat wrapped around him, and dreams of a life he never lived. In Cairo in Cairo in Cairo men work until their hands break while the pharaoh sits in silence, in robes of gold.

On the river, on the interstate, in the valley of kings, the gods are silent.

Published inPoetry

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