He Walked Through Sunrays

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He Walked Through Sunrays

by John C. Paschalis

I smiled when the dying pharaoh

asked me to prepare his son

for the coronation.

On the morning of the rituals,

the heir leans against

his father's pyramid,

where the aura of Osiris

floats above the boy's hair.

My hands pull back

and neatly braid

the soft strands

with Nile reeds,

as I smell

fertile river silts

and caravan lilac flowers

in his tender locks.

I clasp his father's chain

around his neck,

the emerald pendant

falling between

the dark nipples

of his almond chest.

The boy's eyes

gaze at the pyramid

as sunlight strikes

the brightened pendant

and expands his blue irises.

I paint sacred images

over his body:

scorpion on chest with tail arching over one nipple

and curving under the other--

kitten on belly

with tail spiraling around navel--

serpent on thigh

with rattler pointing toward knee.

I undress his tunic

and gown him

in an elegant robe

annointed in Nile water

and blessed by the wind

that rustles the fabric

flowing over his limbs.

I fit upon his chest

a coat of arms

inscribed with a serpent

and lay upon his head

a golden crown.

My arms cradle him,

his legs dangling over

the sacred white wool

of my robe.

I lift him to a pedestal

where he looks upon

the sands of his kingdom

with eyes that represent

the callous fingers

of the gentle seamstress--

the silver dagger and grisly beard

of the marauding nomad--

the moist loin cloth

of the suckling infant--

the iron chain

of the pyramid-bound slave.

He walks to the ceremony

in a path of sunrays

that lies between two pyramids,

as the blaze of Tutankhamen

impregnates him with the courage

of ancient pharaohs.

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