The Assessor of Ma’at

Days come and go like the mortals who like to count them,
seemingly devoid of meaning and yet so potentially full of it.
Twenty years, a quarter of what we expect we have,
have passed …
but I fear the rapid beating of my heart
that fills me with the dread
of a sickness which lessens my own expectation
to an average of forty.

Specialists agree that there are no irregularities in my heart
but once it was suspected
I can’t entirely, nor easily, forget the possibility…

Last night I fearfully awaited the arrival of a Jackal-headed man,
entrusted with the task of taking me away to die,
but at the door—with a singularly unnerving knock! —
there stood a messenger of his office in his stead,
assigned to the task of informing his clients
of the Jackal’s whereabouts
and the likely time of his eventual arrival.

“He’s well on his way,” the messenger said
and quickly departed without delay.
He could not tell me any more than this
and left the time of his master’s visit, as it always was
and always will be, uncertain but certain.

We work hard to save time and spend what little of it we have
yet when we have too much of it on our hands we kill it.
I would like the promise of a long and happy life,
free from the consequences I fear,
but it is in lacking this that makes me afraid …
afraid of my own heartbeat.


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