Cleopatra’s Vision 

"Give me my robe, put on my crown, I have
Immortal longings in me."

Did you know that Cleopatra killed herself?

In Egypt, death by snakebite secures immortality. It’s a rule.

Until recently, well, yesterday, most of what I knew about Cleopatra was from Shakespeare, and admittedly I haven’t read The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, save a few excerpts. Thus, I didn’t know How it Ends. She’s such an obvious historical figure: Her popularity made her common and uninteresting in my eyes.

That has changed.

What does a young queen think before she allows the Asp to strike?

What will it be like?

                                                                  Life goes strange, backward… Rome
                                                                  now rises in the west, Egypt sets to
                                                                  the east—O eastern star! This world
                                                                  is no longer livable.

                                                                  A new vision, wherein I see instants
                                                                  for an hour: Ra’s last lights blaze
                                                                  upon me in the dusk, blind me—
                                                                  His unblinking stare, white-hot, it is
                                                                  noon on the Sahara in his inverted
                                                                  eye—Our day-lives, bound, grow
                                                                  old together—Then sleep. Everything
                                                                  sleeps. Even the sands are tired.
                                                                  Shhh… Do you hear the silent-dark?
                                                                  All calm. Egypt waits for Osiris’ call.

"With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch."

Always a serpent with us girls, isn’t it.

*All italics are Act V, scene ii, The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

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