do you recall how we were plunged here?
on the day of our wedding I danced with naiads,
thoughtless, and drowned; my man moved the world
and its gods with his sorrow, and found his way here
to my side. oh, how his fingers danced across his pipes,
the same way that they wracked me, in some fluid,
frenzied rhythm; his lips were a divine supplication
to my yielding virgin's body. after his bargaining
I found myself, mute and thoughtless, tracing his footsteps
across the underworld like a phantom, a silent haunting.
I remember the way he paused, bathed in his first notes
of sunlight, and turned – was it some feral eagerness,
a supernatural anticipation, that drove him into motion,
or was it a certain disbelief that I was there?
whatever it was, I drowned in darkness, again,
unanchored by his gaze – the slight parting of his lips
the beginning of some voiceless sigh,
my unfurling face hurled back into a void.
long before this, the king and I wrestled for seven days
and seven nights, eager for an excuse to test our strength.
I remember his breath, his grip, the way he bit his lip
in concentration – the beast-man and the prideful warrior
locked in combat somewhere beyond the walls of his great city.
we became companions, then, and I forgot Shamhat,
who taught me a woman's touch. instead we sojourned
and tested ourselves against myth and men alike; we slew
Humbaba, and the bull of heaven, and drank wines
and slept by rivers – our days were hazy feasts of fighting
punctuated by silent companionship. when
Ishtar came to claim me I roared, torn from all solidity,
all senses - a wretched phantom drowning within myself.
I watched as my friend forged his way, past yawning river,
past faceless golem, and wept as he did when he was
turned away at the borders of this dry country.
I don't recall being plunged here – all thought has bled dry
into the dust - but I do know his silhouette,
turned away, walking into sunlight.