She gave the king a hundred
and twenty talents of gold
and a great amount of spices
and precious stones. No one
gave as many spices as the queen
of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
—Holy Bible, 1 Kings 10:10
Tongues of flame flickering deserts
spark a way thirsting to her name;
gasping, praying, “Intercessor!
do not blame our empire; disfame
him—our scoundrel king—pining for
your wisdom, from it long estranged!”
Caravans of collapsed lungs sink;
camels fold toes, greeting their sphinx.
A saint—a saint linking letters
of prayers onto her chain—winks
and does not speak. When unfettered,
a mind leaps; opened blinds letting
men between blinking lines gawk her,
it is she who seeks—her instinct
sends each out jezebel windows
forgettably to streets below
if, somehow, he cannot fathom
a woman holds the keys to all
mysteries, and Janet has them.
A great, perfumed retinue trawled
from the depths of his coffers sent
to greet her, wails at her wall,
“Your Majesty, our king entreats
you to refill what gall depletes.”