There’s a coin in the Yale Art Gallery that was minted, they say, by either Marc Antony or Cleopatra. Antony’s head is on one side of the coin and Cleopatra’s on the other. The heads are the same size. There’s no clue which of them is supposed to be more important. So it’s either a Roman coin prominently featuring the lover of the Roman emperor, or an Egyptian coin prominently featuring the lover of the Egyptian queen.
I wonder whether the coin came before or after the assassinations, the children, the war. Or whether–regardless of who had the coins struck–Cleopatra kept one of them around, maybe on her dressing table (if she had a dressing table) to pick up and rub between her fingers while she was having kohl put on her eyelids or whatever. Or whether Antony sometimes pulled one out and tossed it in the air, waiting to see which side it would come down on, tossing over and over until he got the result he wanted, whatever result that was, and whatever it meant.
chasing dust motes
through the museum