The Painted Bed

By Donald Hall

“Even when I danced erect
by the Nile’s garden
I constructed Necropolis.

Ten million fellaheen cells
of my body floated stones
to establish a white museum.”

Grisly, foul, and terrific
is the speech of bones,
thighs and arms slackened

into desiccated sacs of flesh
hanging from an armature
where muscle was, and fat.

“I lie on the painted bed
diminishing, concentrated
on the journey I undertake

to repose without pain
in the palace of darkness,
my body beside your body.”

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