Why Not Like Mummies? by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

To go down tightly bound
to a stiffened history, a scrolled truth
of seeped ochre, carmen resin
oozed through tunic threads stuck to skin, papyrus crisped,
and tight henna curls tattooed across a leathery scalp,
stenciled gold about the centuried bone specimen…

Deliberate calm prevails in the excavated air
among the compact sarcophagi cache
of cats, crow, a gazelle

all necks wrung, club bound,
and a hundred servants subdued
to do each day’s bidding in faience blue;
spotlight on the offal pickled in canopic jars,
tidied jackal, blanched baboon stare
a moon-bleak answer back,
blanking out the last breath.

Not this frass haven you haunt.

Not this Medusa mess left of us.

A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle received an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop as well as a doctoral degree in nineteenth-century American literature from the University of Iowa. She also holds MAs from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and New York University. In addition to scholarly publications, her poetry has appeared in many journals. Chosen as the 2020 Chapbook Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was published in 2021. Kennedy-Nolle was winner of the New Ohio Review’s 2021 creative writing contest. In 2023 her manuscript Not Waving was a semi-finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Prize, University of Wisconsin Poetry Series’ Brittingham, and Felix Pollak Prizes, and the Brick Road Poetry Contest. Not Waving has been named a finalist for the Laura Boss Narrative Poetry Award. Recently appointed the Poet Laureate of Sullivan County for 2022-2024, she lives and teaches in New York. Kennedy-Nolle has been awarded a Poet Laureate Fellowship for 2023-2024 from the Academy of American Poets.