V Kal. Nov.
I saw him fall under the waves in the river.
The last glimmer of light off his eyes
was heart-rending, for he was trying hard,
he swam with every ounce of his muscles’ strength
but it was not enough in the end.
He wanted to live, he wanted to breathe,
but his precious face fell under, his crown of curly hair disappeared,
his hand grasping at nothingness was the last sun saw of him.
We walked the banks of the Nile on both sides endlessly,
up and down, back and forth again, and again, and again
but found no sign of him on the shore,
no scrap of his clothing on the strand,
no sign of hide nor hair of him.
There was nothing I could do,
no life-line to throw him, no rope of the gods
to spiral across to him and pull him to safety.
But, no one knows that I saw him fall,
that it was nothing but youthful sport
and a quiet moment where he thought to try himself
that lead to his plunging down into the river’s abysmal grasp.
And, I can say nothing to anyone now—
not the Emperor, for surely he would have my head,
or hack off my stones and send me as a eunuch slave elsewhere.
My powerless sight carried him to his grave;
now my wordless testament will carry me to mine.