The Pharaoh's Army

Some were doubtless cruel and rapacious.

Some were tawdry and thin. Some wore

Their moustaches waxed - the dandies!

Some loved their camels more than their

Own brothers. One of them once bit

A live crocodile. One fell stupidly in love

With his major, but concealed it beneath

A show of blustery defiance. One had

A mole on his nose. One feared spiders

More than death. One had drifted on a raft

On the Nile, three years earlier, lost

In a reverie he wished would never end.


First published in The Paris Review.