Watching Television in Hieroglyphics

Olivia Murphy

At first, stars were the only worship

because the writing was already

on the wall. Eventually we got

Osiris and his 14-piece body but

at first, things were


simple. The pilot

light flickering on when Sirius

first winked into man’s eye.

That wonderful blank hindsight.


We pawed at abacuses,

chiseled poems into sandstone,

counted scarab legs.

It was all good morning cats

and crocodiles

teeth. I had the hottest new fruit

since kiwi. Honey from a bush

you’ve only heard about around

the bonfire, opium that’d make you see

new fundamental particles.


Back then, I controlled nights

with the spotlight heat

of my hip bone.

Imagine the first taste

of butter on dry bread – such

was my richness. How I wanted

to throw an arm around a scribe

and claim him, make myself

goddess like Elizabeth Taylor

or Lucy goofing hearthside and oven-warm.

Those men, the smooth sand dune

wigs and coal eyes black

as the ibis’ beak, those arms threshing

wheat beading sweat

salty as pigeon and fuul,


the incredible junctures of staff

and crook like bread

pudding and Umm Ali. The stars foretold it

because they all foretell a connection, then

explosion, a chronology compacted

to the instant of fingertip on fingertip,

black splitting into static.


We knew then that chakras

are only glands, rebranded

and technicolored. Food to mouth and mouth

to flesh was the hardwood of our immaculate

foyer. Ah, to get back

to the pure spirituality:

Orion looseming his belt,

seagulls scattering out

and fading into the sunset

like a laugh track.

Spring, 2017 Issue

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