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Anabasis - How Far Would You Go to Find the Woman You Love?

Updated on March 28, 2012
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The lamp illuminated the wall
The writing old, like the scars on my heart
Ancient and sterile and incredibly rich
Hidden for millenia
"I've been like that too." My thoughts came, unbidden
"How did I find you? You shouldn't even be here."
It was like that sometimes
Years of excavations, a mountain of permits
And then this
Totally unexpected
Like the letter from Ishtar
A cave-in, all lost
And then so was I
Caved in, lost. Sorrow and rage
Years went by, lost in the digs
Searching for a way to plug the hole
Let in the light
And now this
A warning to those who enter it said
Amazing how quickly I deciphered the ancient tongue
My heart starting the familiar pounding I had thought lost
Death will be swift, flee now while there is time
Turn back, only blackness awaits

I thought that once when I first saw her
Daughter of my mentor
A vision in a pith helmet
Nineteen and the head of her class
Already published, already off limits
Flee now while there is time
I didn't then and I wasn't about to now
I lifted the lamp to the right and saw the lion
Stone lions were common as guardians
This one was sleeping
Strange, the guardian to a tomb carved sleeping
Only someone very confident would do this
"What am I getting myself into?"
She smiled so prettily then
My reputation preceded me
My papers on the afterlife and archaeology
The bridge of time and ancient enchantments
She was fascinated
I hadn't seen the sleeping lion
We fell madly, passionately in love
Turn back, only blackness awaits
Then suddenly she was gone
A note in my tent--"I'm sorry."
He took her continents away
Beyond the lion was the door
Metal, aged bronze with a flower in relief
Who was this, guarded by a sleeping lion and a flower?
Aleksandra thought I was right
Most of my colleages disagreed
Leave these theories to poets and playwrights they said
The most kings and pharohs could hope for is mummification
A cycle in time? Get back to your digging
You are good at that
She didn't laugh
Her letters said she found something in Portugal
In the Gulbenkian Museum
Writing on an urn and a clue to a dig
I sat the lamp down and looked at the door
No handle, no way to pull
I pushed
Nothing
I held the lamp and looked closer at the flower
My breathing stopped
The flower never grew on this continent
Only in one continent and in only one place
Where I gave one to her
I sat down heavily on the floor
Ancient dust whooshing into the air
Did I really believe what I had so glibly written?
Was there a connection from death to life?
My heart had been dead
Was it beginning to stir?
I pulled out the coin she had given me
The image of Alexander and Buchephalus
She said the gold coin was priceless
The only one in private hands
Presented in Rome at the Games
You could live on this the rest of your life she said
She didn't know that I was
Not the way she meant
I looked at the lion on the coin
At the medallion on the sleeping lion at my feet
They were the same
I cleaned it out and placed the coin over the lion's in the recessed slot
I told myself I would never part with that coin
My connection with her
The coin and lion dropped out of sight
Exposing stairs into the dark
Did I really believe
Could she, could my heart live again?
I took the stairs
My heart in my hand

©Winsome Publishing 2011, All rights reserved

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