Louis Armstrong Plays for His Wife in Giza, 1961

The sphinx is not drowsy.
Its ear heavy with brass
that echoes off its half-broken face.
The sphinx thinks this is its coronation
that this must be the final blast
written in the books of old.
It now wishes to rise
from this stony couch,
but Louis said he’d play for her anywhere.
He played for her in front of the sphinx
in the shadow of a pyramid, sweat
trickling down his bow-tied body.
This is what the poet says:
Forget the sphinx and its riddles
this is what love sounds like in Giza.
this is what man will do to please her.

Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Bartell Boykin. This poem appeared in museum americana, Issue 8, 2015Used with permission of the author.