“I have not eaten the heart…”

                    — from the 42 Negative Confessions, Papyri of Ani

Equivocation is a dance for the nimble-footed; I’m naked save this smile
and Ma’at ain’t buying it. How many things can I say
with absolute honesty, sweetened with sincerity, tempered
with humility? She reaches inside my chest, like so many
before, cracking my ribs like snow crab legs, nails click-clacking inside
a bone cage—and I hear myself explaining, rambling, dithering,
maintaining eye contact the way I never could, alive with a woman.

Forty-Two “declarations of purity” roll off the tongue
I no longer possess—and she is setting this Libran heart
to one side of her scales. I watch for it—that magician’s moment
she’ll produce her feather. I know it’s not—I know I’m not—balanced.
So many confessions in the mouth but one lodges in the throat, my eyes
lingering in the lines of her languid slow-motion, her legs an aquiline ocean
crashing. Crashing. Crushing—and I’m sure I shouldn’t notice, shouldn’t
be anywhere, be anything, Other than this ritual—but I’ve always been
a sucker for goddesses. In whatever remains of mind’s nook or cranny, we are
already together, as the heroes of myth in their trysting, limbs and torsos
twisting and pressing, before undressing truths forever unspoken
on the ground. She smirks without need of meeting
my eyes and thankfulness abound

there’s no Egyptian word for lust. I finish,
                                                              the golden scales tip
                                                              at the corner of her lips
                                                                                           Say it again, she purrs
                                            and I know
                            which one
             of the forty-two
she means:

“I have not eaten the heart…,” I try,
but we both know

that feather will never fly.