The Prisoner

by Mary Crow

We set up camp in a painted tomb
below the desert where first rays
gilded stepped pyramids,
and we rose to white heat while boats
floated by without a ripple.
Nothing happened
but anarchy of sand and wind,
dynasties that began and ended with us,
extent of the known world
beyond which lay our inner darkness.

Too huge, we called that landscape,
as if we’d suddenly
come upon missing dreams
or crawled across an immense
horizon with its broad river
ballooning out of nowhere
like liquid time
or like the mercury lakes
in ancient Chinese tombs
that kill grave robbers.

Mary Crow has been a dedicated traveler but is now staying home because of Covid-19. She is working on a new book of poems.

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