I was in that lush, green valley they once called Mesopotamia, lying amidst the trees. I watched a young couple sit in the privacy of the shade, their forms barely clothed in leathery skins of beasts, and share a meal of fruit.

I was astride a camel when the final marble block was set in place atop the first great pyramid in Giza. I saw each bead of sweat on each dark back and each drop of blood from each whip lash. I heard the screams and the triumphant cries and counted my souls.

I witnessed the hands as they came down and plunged the knives into Caesar’s back. I smiled to Brutus and Cassius and ushered them away, down obsidian halls.

I sat beside Mary as she gave birth. I locked eyes with the newborn and knew instantly. I think he did too.

I locked eyes with him again thirty-three years later, and he smiled at me from his cross. I doffed my hat in salute. He had won.

I watched empires fall and rise. I watched horned men arrive from the seas, and I watched them go, leaving sulfur in their wake. On the other side of the world, I watched generations of men build a wall around their nation, isolate themselves, and destroy each other. I watched sons and daughters clasp the crowns of their forefathers and die at the hands of their kin.

I followed the life of a man who was born as a noble, lived as a beggar, and died as a symbol. I inhaled burning incense as families paid homage to their ancestors and inscribed tablets with their names. I stood by a man as he took up his sword and helm and marched across a continent to reclaim a city that belonged to no one.

I dwell where children die, where young women lose sight of personal treasures, and where men take the advantage. I happen upon the homeless and exchange the cash in their hands for instant pleasure and prolonged pain. I feed the dogs dressed in business suits, who sit behind desks in oval offices.

I watch the men who shovel dirt into shallow graves and clean up the blood. I wear the masks of salvation and wisdom to corrupt the young. I stand back as children prey on each other in the yards of prestigious schools.

I am leaning over your shoulder every night.

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