Cleopatra

The asp still coiled around my wrists,
I cradle it even now, 

another subject to nurse –
to love. 

Its final kiss, its magic strike
a marvellous thing. 

My salad days wither and wrinkle
at its sinful touch. 

A refusal to kiss a conquering hand,
to obey, to kneel as a queen. 

Infinitely Isis, my love
pours out across the land – 

rebirthing a nation,
swaddling them in gold cloth. 

Not an enchantress,
a mother – 

Not another Shakespearean tragedy,
a victory.


Kirsty A. Niven is from Dundee, Scotland where she lives with her husband and cats. Her poetry has appeared in a number of places including Artificial Womb, The Dawntreader, Dundee Writes, Cicada Magazine and Laldy.