The White Temple

Northridge Review, Vol. 6.2 (1988)

Jennifer Wolfe

Our meeting was planned
five thousand years ago
laid brick upon brick by
slaves sitting on the banks
of the Euphrates
weaving the elaborate
labyrinth around a core

not even the architect
could find the infant
sacrificed for the cornerstone
the cattle horns buried 
in the foundations
icons of birth and sex
and death hidden in the mosaics
patterned on the passage walls.

We run through history,
animal husbandry, Egyptian queens,
dense stifling cities, steamy
August nights spent in smoky rooms,
loneliness eating through the urban rhythms
and we collide in the innermost room

both of us knowing, even as you
pull my head back by the hair,
exposing my throat to your obsidian,
that the slaves
are filling in the labyrinth.

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