Verse Found Scratched Inside the Lid of a Sarcophagus (Dynasty Unknown)

Never think to hide yourself in death from me.
Before you are even half-digested
my body’s adze will pry open your flesh-eating box —
I will bake myself into a clay doll for your tomb
and slip thus beneath the portico, with its net of spells.
I will pursue you through every division of the night
even unto the realm of the fourth and fifth hour,
that howling wasteland where serpents coil
and crocodiles sharpen their teeth on bones.
Knowing well Lord Seker has no care for his own worshippers,
I will pass both him and his eight gods by, move unnoticed
through fields of chopping blocks, pits of vomited fire;
I will fear neither the black rustle of his wings (knit from
resinous wrappings), his two heads on two necks,
that his tail terminates in a human skull.
As the oils of your press turn rancid, curing you in cedar,
I will burn kyphri ’til the air itself hangs heavy
with myrrh, broom and saxifrage,
’til ba and ka alike fall slumbrous as smoked bees.
I will work an Execration Text on you
and sever each part of your soul in turn —
your heart, your name, black shadow of your vital spark —
shape you in wax, in mud, bound and dismembered.
I will crush you flat and scribe my will upon you,
threaten you with the Second Death,
murder your name, erase you, make it so that none
now living remember you ever lived (but me).
As Hathor’s blood-drunkenness overcomes me, I too
will collect the dribbled bile of Re, our senile God-king —
like Isis, I will reduce you to torn-up parts, then string
(all I can find of them) back together with my father’s spit.
Like Nut, unending sky, I will stretch myself upon you
at last, open your mouth with mine and murmur:
There, it is done, you are Beautified. Rise up now,
and join me. Rise up. Wake to my word, to me.
Rise up, wake, to me, and now. Or never.

I will not be denied.

[Award-winning horror author Gemma Files is probably best-known for her Hexslinger series (A Book of Tongues, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones, all from ChiZine Publications). She has also published two collections of short fiction (Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart, from Wildside Press). Her poetry has appeared in Goblin Fruit, Not One of Us, Mythic Delirium and Strange Horizons.]

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