Sphinx pose

“a shape with lion body and the head of a man,” ...

oh sphinx, you know better, don’t you? not a man but
a woman, yes -- massive, stately, majestic, poised
stone and magnificent in the desert imagination, jutting
up from sere red dirt -- you hold the busy noise

of two thousand years in your massive mouth.
all around you “civilization” swirls and dies, clouds
scudding through hot skies. you survive famine, drought,
pestilence, war, petty gods and their humans. as loud

as extinction, your enduring silence roars on the edge
of our history, invention, struggle. the perfect marriage
of creation, predator, goddess, monument, religions
slide off your immovable haunches. wordless, you disparage

our attempts to stave off the inevitable, our puny deaths,
our desiccation, our return to rock, and sand, and breath.

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