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Joanna Abillama: 'The Serpent Queen'



The Serpent Queen


She grew up by the sea
Dreaming of how big she’d be
How charming and graceful
And utterly tasteful!
You’ll see Mother, once I’m eighteen
And finally a proper queen,
From all corners of the world they’ll come from me
All insist on calling me The Lady
True, she had reasons for her pride
Youth and innocence were by her side
But soon, they were all to be taken away
The night the prophetess came in to say:
O Serpent Queen, our blessed mother, ruler of our land, sea, and air
Whose body nourishes and encircles us, keeping us from despair
I am afraid I come tonight, a bearer of grave news
A vision, a dark prophecy, I’ve been granted by my muse
Seven times you are to die, and seven times to be reborn
Seven times, you’ll shed your skin, only to find another to be worn
Many masters you shall know, and blood and tears shall soak your gown
Yet each time you’ll raise your head, refusing to stay down
The queen shook violently, and screamed: No, I cannot die!
I refuse to listen any longer, prophetess. It’s obvious you lie!
My tower shall protect me from those who seek my demise
And I, myself, shall carry out justice on anyone who tries
Silently, the prophetess slipped out the gate
Leaving the burdened queen to ponder on her fate
And as the years pass by, the vision became reality
The queen found herself locked in the cold grasp of History
She was tired of the battles, tired of remembering what went on
Who were the murderers in her midst? Who were the black swans?
I deserve a respite, for goodness’ sake!
Won’t anyone give me a break?
I want new shoes, new styles, new marbles…
I might even get myself something that sparkles
At once, she felt a breath of life go through her
And knew it was time for a transformation to occur
The Serpent Queen took back her throne
Of glistening jewels and Canaanite stone
Gazing at all who came to see,
She spoke: I am Beirut. Admire me.

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