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Portrait of Hippocrates, or Buqrat

By Kim Roberts

from The Falnama of 1703, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

O augury seeker,
          know and be aware
In the book of divination,

Hippocrates rides the simurgh,
          a mythical bird,
                   as he returns to his home

carved from emeralds
          on Mount Qaf.
                    With his white turban,

scholar's dark beard,
          and bright orange robe,
                   he looks over one shoulder

and strokes the bird's
          golden tail feathers
                    as she flits through an azure sky

between eddies of clouds.
          Healer of the sick,
                    Builder of the first hospital,

Master of alchemy,
          astrology and magic,
                    I have prepared myself

for your prognostication
          with bathing and prayers,
                    opened the book in my blindness,

opened my heart in hope
          and placed my body,
                    my wounded body, in your hands.

Added: Thursday, July 3, 2014  /  From "Animal Magnetism" (Pearl Editions, 2011). Used with permission.
Kim Roberts
Photo by Rick Karlin.

Kim Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). The title poem of that book was featured on a seven-foot-high banner at the National March for Science in the Wick Poetry Center’s “Science Stanzas” project, and is now traveling the US as part of their Traveling Stanzas exhibition. Roberts is the co-editor of two literary journals, Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the Delaware Poetry Review. In August, she will be a writer-in-residence at the Luna Parc Foundation, her 17th art colony fellowship. In Spring of 2018, the University of Virginia Press will release her nonfiction book, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston.

Other poems by this author