I was there at the dawn of civilization
When my husband hatched the egg of life beneath the moon’s bright eye.
Together we measured the shape of the Heavens; together we sliced the stars from the sky.
I stared down leopards, fearless.
I gifted the pharaohs the years of their reigns.
And, though no temple was built in my honor,
Though I was known only by title, and not by name,
I, Seshat, the Female Scribe, Granter of Immortality, Goddess of the Seven-Pointed Star,
Created the Sacred Art of writing,
Collected the prayers of mortal men,
Curated books for my celestial library,
And, with the gift of my reed pen, I helped humans ink themselves
Into the scrolls of eternity.
When fear of the old ways flooded the world, I survived, forgotten, unsung.
Foremost of Builders, I did what women do.
I poured a foundation of children.
In the birthing rooms, I stretched the cords across my body,Turned my infants toward the northern stars,
And then let the doctors cut them free.
I, Seshat, Mother of Many,
Wrote the hymn of new life,
Measured its growth,
Notched its years in the flesh of the palm wood trees.
I taught my progeny to read the patterns of the night, to note the placement of the crescent moon.
When they grew away, I searched for their souls in the sky.
I wonder if they searched for mine too.
In the twilight of evening, I enter Thoth’s office.
There he squints and strains to find the rhythm and the rhyme.
His feathers gray about the temples; hours etch themselves in lines around the corners of his eyes.
I drape my spotted scarf upon his pile of discarded poems
And revel in the stain of ink, the smell of smoke, which spills across his hands.
He touches me beneath the rising horns of honeyed moon, and the urgency of memory commands that
I, Seshat, the Female Scribe, Lady of Writing Who Opens Heaven’s Door,
Dissolve into the primeval depths of our desire,
Uniting the halves of our whole once more.
We are two pages bound by gilded leather.
We are one life, one song, one myth, one word.
Together, our ancient soul again transcribes
The stories of the world.
[Kelly Jarvis teaches literature, writing, mythology, and fairy tales at Central Connecticut State University and Tunxis Community College. Her work has been featured in Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine where she works as the Special Projects Writer. She has poetry and stories forthcoming in New Tales of Fairy Godmothers by World Weaver Press and Mermaids Monthly.]