Like a Pharoah’s first wife,
pack as if you’re never
coming back— kneel

beside your black overnight
and prepare for the after-
life: what you’re going

to wear. Red, mauve, orange
silk scarves, purple
suede and gold leather

shoes; purses don’t have to
match. Hose: panty, thigh-highs,
knee-highs, socks. Bring Bose

head phones for London,
Paris, Sydney, New York,
to soothe you in any port. Night

and day creams, perfume. Then,
solemnly close the case, and pray
it will fit into the overhead:

O, royalty of Egypt, when
you arrived in your solar barque
to life eternal, did you think

even once of the wretched
backs you broke to disembark?
O, royal wife, who slapped

servants for sneaking snacks
or laughing each time
your husband chose another

wife, no one’s going to care
what you packed, not even
the man slow of speech who

promised deliverance, at what
price? A desert of yearning, flash
floods, mirages. This will be your life.