Lady Pu-abi

by Kevin Andrew Murphy

In the deathpits of Ur, Lady Pu-abi
listens for lyres, strings chirping like crickets,
lost and forgotten like goats in the thickets,
proud as the dhows that once left Abu Dhabi,
come to pay tribute to Lady Pu-abi.

Gone the gold gameboard, the lapis lazuli
chalice, the chokers, carnelians, agates—
taken like flesh by those graverobbing maggots.
Her slaves and her stalwarts, all stolen unduly,
along with her headdress of gold and lazuli.

Simoom’s breath hisses along the Euphrates,
bringing her rumor, that date-sweet libation:
Men come for conquest yet cry liberation.
Names shift like sand dunes: Chaldeans, Kuwaitis.
Blood swirls like damascene down the Euphrates.

Bodies are buried near Lady Pu-abi,
guards for new palaces—now mausoleums—
treasures replacing those lost to museums.
Prows part the waters, beyond Abu Dhabi,
laden with tribute for Lady Pu-abi.

“Lady Pu-abi” previously appeared in The Buckeye.


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