by Dan Beachy-Quick

First sound. Then light.
A door cracks open in the night
And a child walking into the room
Falls asleep again on the floor.
I speak mean in my dreams
And the anger wakes me up.
Herodotus in a chair with a cup
Of coffee. Against Otanes’
Advice to make Persia a Democracy
Darius convinces the other
Conspirators Monarchy is best.
The King will be the one
Whose horse at sunrise whinnies
First, and Darius’s clever groom
Oebares fixes the test. Kneel
Down in obeisance at the trick.
When my wife wakes up she opens
The screen to let out the dog
Whose nails against the wood click.
The hinge creaks loud
But the child stays asleep. I close
The book to write this poem.
A graven horse on a stone, Darius
wrote, Darius, son of Hystapses,
aided by the excellence of his horse
(here followed the horse’s name)
and of Oebares his groom,
won the kingdom of Persia.

I haven’t turned on the radio yet.

Published on April 12, 2018