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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 168-169

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Translations from the Akkadian

Nick Bozanic

The sun is a god.
The mountain is a man.
The ox, grazing, breathes heavily in the heat.

The sun god
calls to the mountain man,
his voice an ox lowing on the altar.

The sun god bleeds light.
The mountain man bathes in its stream.
The ox bows its head, drinks deep.

The sun is a song God sings in fire's tongue
to call forth the mountain at the foot of which lies a man
like a stone ox on the grave of the night.

The sun is a fruit dissolving in the mouth of God.
The mountain is the mother's breast
from which the man cannot wean his suckling ox.

The sun dies. God shuts the vault of his eye.
The mountain crumbles into the sea.
The man wakes under a sky of ice. No ox.

The sun runs to God,
racing over the mountain
like a man distraught in search of his errant ox. [End Page 168]

The sun summons God
to the top of the mountain.
The man rides his ox into the village.

The sun is no god.
The mountain, all mountain.
The man cries, "Ox!" The ox lifts his leaden head.


Nick Bozanic lives in Honolulu with his wife and two sons, Gabriel and Isaiah. His most recent book is This Once: Poems 1976-1996; selections from his new work-in-progress, Trust, are forthcoming in an anthology to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Anhinga Press.



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pp. 168-169
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