“Back,” snaps the Bedouin,
The day sparkling over his black and sandy hood.
A rough beast heaves laughing Daisy into the air.
Take my picture, she shrieks at our sly guide
He clicks the cell phone on which he’d been droning on
About Cheop’s grave disappointment.
Uncle Oswald counted autumn leaves,
No flowers bloom forever, he shrugged.
Don’t worry, Daisy said. Sam still owns the greenhouse
And they’re way too long in lotus.
Besides, MBAs bargain in a bigger bazaar.
Henry, you see, not Horus, sold the falcons,
Supplying his own demand at five dollars a day.
I like men who sweat, said Daisy.
Around here they hack off the gardener’s hands.
To market mummies you need
More death than these dynasties could ever deliver.
So Daisy and I got the sheik drunk in the Hay-Adams
On the last of the vodka martinis.
His index finger slipped into her thong,
But he wouldn’t kiss her on any lips.
My people are waiting, he whispered: euros or dollars?
The mahogany door cracked open.
Sizzling sand poured into the lobby.
The credit card machine clogged,
And the senator’s bag lady was petrified.
The sheik flew east with our American Express plastic
And a nine-eleven t-shirt: Never Forget.
OK. So we go back to basics: battleship gray.
But the Bedouin does not permit the beast to kneel.
Daisy’s tongue goes dry.
Don’t desert me, she cries. My hands were tied, too.
Weedy fingers grow from his fossilized stumps.
Baksheesh. baksheesh, he cackles.
Daisy asks Uncle Oswald to ask him
Please how much will it cost
To let me down gently.
Luxor. 1997. Revised 2007.