After The Party

Sugar dries on paper plates. The cake's
decimated and barely touched. What to do
with the balloons? A few float listlessly,
unattached, still bearing like bandages
the tape that bore them to the wall.
They've gone dull, rubber tips darkening
to a bottle's pinch. It's too late, or too early.
There are too many on the floor, stirred up
as I stir. In the end, I cut them, urge a blade
into the inch between knot and blossom.
Slow deflation. It reveals what they are:
sacs of plastic, stale with air. I've seen this
before, in the newspaper picture of Nefertiti,
bound in the antechamber of a tomb,
cast out of favor, her body, barely wrapped.
How they know her: by the queenly jaw,
age of limbs and teeth. Also, by the broken
mouth, smashed by priests so she cannot
eat, cannot breathe in the afterlife.

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