Naomi Foyle

Ancient History

Assyrian warriors planned invasions twice: once sober

and once drunk. Swimming the Tigris hugging goats’ bladders

they prayed for giant angels to guide them after death

through iron gates now standing in a museum corridor.

Desert wolves, they ruled their age, with savage pride creating

Babylon and cuneiform tableaux ― the virtues of their king

crosshatched across his portrait, as if an army of small birds

had marched a hymn of praise upon his stage.

The Assyrians were also early body sculpture artisans,

from cypress sap and camel tongues engineered machines

to build their calves into the shape of conch shells,

the trumpets of their Gods …or so I whisper in your ear…

as in this hall of infidels, I pause, trying not to hold you —

who once harnessed every natural force to come down on my fold.


So much is lost forever

unless we blu tack postcards

to the wall.

Naomi Foyle © 2008