“Caesarion” by Peter J. King

Sparks of Calliope

(after Kavafis)

The eldest son of Cleopatra
stands upon the steps of the Gymnasium
before the Alexandrians,
his rich and royal clothing gleaming
in the midday sun.
Slightly to his rear, his brothers
whisper jokes, but he cannot join in
their muffled laughter.
Even when a soldier faints in the oppressive heat,
Caeasarion stays solemn, not a flicker
of a smile. A trumpet sounds.

Antony declares that Cleopatra
is the goddess Isis, Queen of Kings,
the Queen of Egypt and of Cyprus.
Their two young sons are named as Kings
of Syria, Cilicia, of Parthia, Armenia, and Media,
their daughter Cleopatra as the Queen
of Libya and Cyrenaica.

A pause. A drop of sweat begins to form
above Caesarion’s right eye; he feels it trickle
slowly down his cheek. The trumpet sounds.

The voice of Antony, his mother’s husband,
now goes up in volume but its pitch is lower.

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“Caesarion” by Peter J. King

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