Hypatia of Egypt
I was deep inside my greatest grandmother's womb
when I watched the Christian mob stone you.
Watched the bearded neo-disciples rape you.
Watched them watching you die
as if my greatest grandfather's hands had crippled themselves
down through the ages to form the marrow of my newly opened eyes.
Their tongues passed down to me.
Their wombs, and thoughts,
newly christened barbaric,
my gossamer gown torn as hers was,
my eyes systematically shutting like doors,
like fists over like rocks.
And from my mother's womb I learn to chart the stars,
suck the honey of her body with a ferocious thirst
quenched only when she boarders the seven sections of the Nile –
and from her womb I learned to chant those same names of the Nile
(your own voice on her lips) together we whisper: Canopic,
Bolbitinic, Sebennytic, Phatnitic, Mendesian, Tanitic, Pelusic…
to no one at all, save the wind, and the night sky,
and the mob approaching the acropolis.
Had I enough tongues to make myself heard across the centuries
I would have screamed into each ear lobe,
slobbered my somber soliloquies into their hungry mouths,
yet, deep in those soft wombs my mother's sleep,
her own empty,
yet lineage scratches the bones of time, and the desert without a blood need.
My same grandfathers, merely boys,
stone-handed, hungry-lipped, and ragged,
they had not learned the science of our
shapes; the silence of our dreamscapes.