Issue 132, Fall 1994
Of course,all day long it’s Gilgamesh wants
this, Gilgamesh wants that, and we scatter
through the city, beating ploughshares into
swords, dyeing bolts of cloth his favorite red.
Oh, we try making our hero happy,
but it’s hard acting thrilled as he unveils
his latest victory—to our minds, almost
all two-headed monsters look the same way.
Still, the gods are unreliable, and
our hero is often busy. Sometimes,
he’s gone from us for weeks, and we pick up
our usual business — patching up our love
affairs, or inventing better nails. Then,
life seems less circumspect, and we are left
alone to nurse our bruises or mutter
restlessly in the marketplace. Most nights,
we simply sit by the locked city gates,
listening to the winds stir the heavy
grass, as we feel again that singular
urge to rush onto that dark plain, losing
ourselves forever in that startling depth.
True, we keep a firm grip on our seats. In time,
our hero will return home, and then we
will open the gates and venture beyond.
He’s princely when he’s here, our Gilgamesh,
but soon we will be leaving him for good.