Tavye Neese





In Egypt at the gates of the afterlife, three questions,
Did you lie? Did you steal?
Did you pollute the Nile?

And although you worked
as hard as a dung beetle,

your tongue swollen for water,
your knuckles bleeding into soil,

wasn’t debris, scorn, your state of mind,
result of your toil?

The world is thick with your discard
of lovers and hours. You broke 

your body for pennies, 
swallowed dollars.

What you tossed is sent rotting
on currents stronger than desire.

Belly-up, what you wasted festers
on banks, is given no pyre.


Originally published in The Lake Rises: An Anthology.
Forthcoming in Locust from Salmon Poetry.