In Marduk's Temple
Mark J. Mitchell
It’s hot today. I’m glad they built no tent
though men will come just to watch women now.
This goatskin’s soft under my knees, my garment
pillows my head. Cups—for water, for rent—
rest before me, stuck in this active bow.
Young boys walk around. Some carry the cool
water we women need. Some want to choose
one or another. It’s only one day
each cycle. It can be sweet, almost play
but I mostly close my eyes. I won’t see
their faces. It’s better that way. God sees
my offering—and the coins the boys drop
in that other cup. I know it will stop
when sun sinks and the slivered moon rises.
I wash between. Roll on my back. Hot sky
above my belly. I feel like a cat
sometimes. Other girls don’t. I must be odd.
A breeze through the temple gate. So that’s that.
I wonder whose child I will bear to the god.