A living king with the might of a God
Demands that thousands and thousands
Of soldiers be made to protect him in the afterlife.
Seven hundred ministers
Collect a thousand workers each
To paint and mold and fire and breathe life
Into false faces and torsos.
An assembly line of earthen wares.
An afterlifetime army of stony, stoic faces.
The emperor’s view of death is resolved.
It is the beyond which unnerves him.
As though, upon the completion of his Heavenly mandate,
He would arrive at a great field
Populated by other mighty kings
Each with armies composed of painted stone
And these immobile objects would spring to life,
Fight, die, break into thousands of pieces
For all eternity, or until one king was supreme.
Mighty God of the afterlife –
A pile of shattered stone and clay.
Best fill the trenches now, while breathing, he reasons.
No one wants to arrive on the battlefield
With only his bones to carry him.