the dead live on

by kdillmanjones

Votive Offerings, Nippur. From The Oriental Institute, Chicago.

Votive Offerings, Nippur. From The Oriental Institute, Chicago.

We ran for hours
but something fell through the crack–
possibly love.
I circled every labyrinth word,
looking for you.
Your peeled sunburn popped up
in the Ugaritic goddess;
A single hair
in Powhatan cursings.
And I got lost after that
or we both did–
We never made it to shalom, to center,
to hold hands and meander back out.
Now this body is on fire,
alone, still shuffling
through the thorny bramble of dead languages.
And all that comes up
is a toenail in Latin,
an eyelash in Sumerian.
Did you know they were really the Kengi(r)?
I guess your eyelash knew.
The flames consume me now
as I stare at your dead parts.
Fire consumes life,
and the dead live on.


* Kengi(r) was the name the Sumerians called themselves (not “Sumerians”). See: Von Soden, W. (1994). The Ancient Orient: An Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near East. (D.G. Schley, Trans.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

** 33-333 words on the 3rd definition of crack, i.e. this week’s Trifecta challenge.

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