The 2River View 25.2 (Winter 2021)

Jessica Dionne

To Nephthys

Guardian of the dead, comforter
of the mourning—You, whose darkness
put the stars to sleep—help me to multiply
my potential, make my garden grow
fruit, full to bursting, dripping at the rind

groves of oranges
 an orchard of limes.

Goddess of Night. Death. Vulture
Woman barren as air. Yet you guard hearth
and home, keep it.

I sift from the Delta, yearn
for it to fill me, this belly of flat
lines—give me rounding as the riverbanks,
bending to the force of life that rushes, urgent,
to answer each curve.

Nephthys’ Reply

Haven’t I answered when you knelt
            and asked for riverbeds
rich as Osiris.

            When during funerary you painted sister
                         and me on coffins in strokes
            of carob and gold, to guard thereafter?

You prayed for bless’ed hearth, swept
            locusts from my altar
and through me, you made a home.

            Now you ask for rounding, which is to pray
                        for a billowing linen dress
            woven by a goddess with no hands,

how can I answer?
            To give that which was never received.

Jessica Dionne is a PhD student at Georgia State University. Her work has appeared in JMWW, Narrative, Rust + Moth, SWWIM, and others.

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