Hosni, In Miniature
by Andrew Haley

I place this scrimshaw

on your empty throne,

these gelded

pillow whispers

for your generation

of hostages and farewell

kisses waved from the moveable

stairs on foreign airfields

where palms wagged down

the long afternoon

of the century of ashes.


You were a sphinx

of the lesser order.

No jack black boot

for you.

No uncle Joe

beneath the mistletoe

waiting with a grin,

but an ornamental god

forgotten by all

except the specialists;

a broken gaze

containing all your realm –

a sunny afternoon,

the sun and moon

red as violent halves

of tangerines

in the century of snow.


How vile to be interred

without a pharaoh’s

gilt and leisurely

trepanned slaves,

the slick castration

and the prayers for wine

carved with holy stylus

in the disemboweled afternoon

settling over the century of aerial war.


Your tomb will surely be

wallpapered and divanned,

its leaded windows weltered

by northern weather.

London will have you,

take your riches for its pomp,

the fading glamour

of your exile

another needle

for its cynosure.

Paris has already

neutered your galaxy

and robbed

the moon hewed chromosomes

winding at the alphabetical core.

What’s one Egyptian more?


You will need more slaves

in Washington.

Washington is a window

from the end of history

onto the plantation of the bored.

Bring sand and finery.

Bring the bacterium

you carry in your bowels

you outstretched braggart

who cupped a handful of the stain

flowing with disdain

from the war train

and village sewer

in the black sun of Sudan

the Theban miles

to the old world’s core,

indifferent to human suffering

and the centuries of char.


Potomac flows pharmacy

to pharmacy


the boys in suits

to leper fish 

in the rivers

of recycled piss

my generation

squats along

reciting odes

to its sterility.


Yours knows cars

flowering with bullet holes,

the febrile enterprises

of the desert’s poor,

the kissed kaffiyeh

and martyred hordes

moving above their shadows

in the afternoon

of a world burnt hard. 


Goodbye, you wind-up dictator, you accident.

Greet the pharaohs on your knees.

Abdel Fattah Hussein