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Not a Prayer

ISSUE:  Spring 2012

One that comes to mind
is very old:

Ninsun, mother of the hero,
beseeches the sun-god that Gilgamesh might go
unharmed on his journey to murder
the monster—
that he be watched over by stars. For this,
she selects her best dress,
climbs the stairs to the roof, and burns
sweet-smelling herbs. As it turns

out, Shamash is only one of several
gods in this story: all take bribes and quarrel.
Who, anymore, in need calls out to them?

Her ancient wish and my wish are the same.


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