Passing by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

After a Papyrus buried with Nany (NAH-nee), a woman in her seventies with a heart light as the feather of Ma’a, passed into AAru (approximately heaven) instead of Daut (possibly hell) after answering “no” to every question in the book of the dead.

All the way to Duat sailing through the sodden fields,
Aaru’s on my mind. Will I enter or be eaten?

Surely, Nany, you aren’t the only one in it for heaven.
Am I not a friend to Thoth? And weren’t you

ever tempted as I am? Surely you wondered if you’d be
found out? When did you sense palpable light under your ribs?

How did your feather heart feel, lifting in your chest?
Oh, mother Nany, death is too unsure.

Give me Osiris, Baal or even famous Jesus, all those boys
who promise happy endings when we call

to their high heavens, when we ask them how
our weighing-in turns out. They all vow a girl can drink forever,

after life’s dry spell. On the way to Duat, I practice how
to answer every question “ No.”

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Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a Dime Show all on its own. She is the author of two books and three chapbooks, most recently Persephone on the Metro (Mad Hat Books, 2014). See her work in Concis, Mom Egg Review, the Kentucky Review and others. Read more here:

Photo credit: Terri Malone


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