The Banquet of Cleopatra
Not another woman in sight,
unless you count the hazy onlooker in the balcony.
You sit in a world of men, and your pose, despite your delicate fingers
as they suspend the pearl above the glass,
your hand on hip, limbs akimbo beneath swathes of satin,
your pose a military one.
Your lover would restrain fire, a man in armour
Unmanned by this pseudo-feminine putsch.
All men around you.
Not one friend.
Even the dog, another onlooker, anticipating meat.
You play hard, Cleopatra,
Daughter of generals tost by the gods to the throne.
In this one moment of glory you command and subjugate
the men who will soon
close in on you,
and their dogs
for fresh meat.
This poem was first published at Litterateur RW, 2022.
Anita Jawary is a Melbourne artist, writer and poet as well as a volunteer docent at the National Gallery of Victoria. Anita began writing poetry in lockdown 2020 and has published in Be Guided by Art, Songs of Eretz, Poetica Review and Jewish Literary Journal. Her work has also been broadcast on Pier-Glass Poetry and TBI Daily Daven. Her flash fiction series, The Dickensian Challenge with her own art work, has recently appeared in Jewish Women of Words. You can find Anita at www.thedickensianchallenge.com
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