Today's poem is by James Doyle

The Sumerians

built a suburb of stepped towers
for their gods, who were upwardly
mobile a thousand years before the Greeks.

Anonymous wandered through the suburbs,
checking out the mud-brick bungalows
between the ziggurats, and got inspired

enough to write Gilgamesh on clay
tablets that would stretch from Ur
to Uruk if laid end to end. After

inventing the first written story, ziggurats,
and the Middle East, the Sumerians wondered
how they could top themselves. "What about

charisma?" said Sargon, who proceeded
to unite Mesopotamia. Everything after that
was a bore, so the Sumerians rested

their heads back against their reed huts
and drank whatever they could ferment.
Drowsing away in the sun, the Sumerians

never noticed the desert, weary
of being held at bay, drawing its thick
blanket of sand and years over them.

Copyright © 2009 James Doyle All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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