HIPPICUS, MARIAMNE AND PHAESAL By Mark Burgh

HIPPICUS, MARIAMNE AND PHAESAL 

Hippicus, Miriamne, and Phaesal,
shaded me on clear sun days, sundailed
the city. I drunk the hours;

wine clear or blood dark in jeweled cups,
for Sabbath or just His thirst,
with my father’s eyes on my face. 
 
Hippicus, Miriamne and Phaesal,
their tumbled stones spilled across the road 
like grain or hard salt.

Herod’s murdered children,
towered, all three, turned from
unhappy ones to prod to sky in remembrance.

I am of them too. Maybe Herod 
knew that his cousin would
fail into the state like a poor nation.

Those strangling hands rose the children,
rose the Holy of Holies,
wrung Hippicus, Miriamne, Phaesal dead.

His hands around my throat,
Hippicus, Miriamne, Phaesal knew,
tipped from on high to profane earth,

spilled grain or salt,
they sundailed me from youth to age,
told me all.  If I only I had listened. 

Mark Burgh lives and teaches in Fort Smith, AR.

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