The Pharaoh, a born idealist but a decided realist, ruled his lands fairly. Although the streets did not shine with gold, the lands were abundant with soil fertile enough for perennial crops of wine grapes, olives, and apricot trees. His people had a dependable harvest in the autumn months, and a large spread on the table each night. The young held hands on their way to school each morning, singing songs of their ancestors before them. The elders never wanted for company, enjoying their family’s presence each day.
Every year in the late summer months, the Pharaoh’s royal orchid bloomed in different hues, determining news of the year to come. The patriarch and his people waited each year for the flower’s color to impress the news upon them. An event was held, and all people attended, waiting to see the fortune of the flower.
All in attendance wore the most recently imported silks with the very best gold jewelry, showing the pure abundance that had blessed their lands and families. Their eyes narrowed as the bud slowly dispersed, showing its petals to the crowd. A scream rang out. The petals outstretched from the bud, shining and black in the late morning sun. The Pharaoh hung his head. It was an omen with a meaning he had never seen before: an impending death of a royal. With this he turned to his pregnant wife, hesitant to look into her too familiar eyes. The monsoons began that evening.
Amy Van Duzer is a lifelong writer and MFA candidate at Mt. Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in publications such as Wild Things, Mediterranean Poetry, The Drabble, Cold Moon Journal, and
Cephalo Press. She is most inspired by other poets and lyricists.