the swine of rouen.
as dawn breaks on the nileotic marsh
a heron, ancient token of the gods,
takes flight against the rosy sky; the awed
placidity is shattered by a sharp
gun-blast from the papyrus-brake; a barque’s
been chartered by two frenchmen for an odd
and idle expedition, and gustave
flaubert’s been up all night. debauched, a dark
lasciviousness smears his mind; he’s missed.
his egypt’s a perfumed, licentious stage
for swinish and aesthetic overload;
he’s whored and roared since stumbling off the ship
from france. he snores now, sees the empty page
that haunts him all his life. the river flows.