Priest and Scribe of the Karnak Temple
(Mummified remains displayed in Leeds City Museum, England)

Forty layers
              of incensed linen
              in the slow
              of science.

Cumin, myrrh,
              oils of cedar
and cinnamon
              whose aromatics
              like the potent scent
of burnt

Here, beneath
              a layer of spice
and sawdust,
              your face
              perpetual night.

After three millennia,
              your mouth
bares teeth
              bright as
              in an evening
              soft palate
              like the roof
of an abandoned

We’re told
              it may have been
a honey bee,
              all swift hum
and needle,
              who stung
your song
              to stone.





Frank Paino earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His manuscript, Pietà, won the 2023 Jacar Press Chapbook Competition and is forthcoming in 2024. His third book, Obscura, was published by Orison Books in 2020. He has received a Pushcart Prize, The Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including Crab Orchard Review, Catamaran, North American Review, World Literature Today, and Lake Effect, as well as a number of anthologies. (Photo courtesy of Gerrie Paino)

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