Stan Sanvel Rubin

The Scales

You have your own, your former heart.
.                             –Egyptian Book of the Dead
Decorated pillars in the portico of the temple at Philae, Egypt by Louis Haghe after David Roberts

Finally the Hall of the Two Truths is opened
where dead man and dead wife watch
as his heart is weighed.
They knew this was coming.
They have eaten bread with the gods.
They swam the dark waters.
Now will they finally be human again?
This time it’s forever.
She who presided
at his loud birth is silent.
She who mummified his corpse
records his answers.
Ammit sits at the scales,
her mouth a crocodile,
her body a lion
with the tail of a hippo.
A cynic could say
this is like marriage,
Monster, Devourer, Bone Eater.
Not even a goddess.
He watches his silent wife watching.
His heart is a pebble,
each lie a stone.
After all their journey,
will there be a new passage?
What can lovers carry to the end?
Light as a feather,
truth weighs against him.


About the writer:
Stan Sanvel Rubin’s poems have appeared in such magazines as The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, Ascent, One, and others. His fourth full collection, There. Here., was published by Lost Horse Press in 2013. His third, Hidden Sequel (2006), won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.

Image: Decorated pillars in the portico of the temple at Philae, Egypt. Coloured lithograph by Louis Haghe after David Roberts, 1846. Public domain.