Ateruw / I Will Never Let Them Go

Ateruw

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these jewels the Gods dropped one by one
into the floodwaters;
the finest gold, turquoise, and malachite,
catching the sun’s hands by the tips of their fingers;
these jewels the Gods dropped one by one
into the river they love.

I have loved, too, as I dropped my body for you,
wrapped in dazzling white linen
on the breath of a festival day;
taking to the waters that drew near to kiss me,
as I imagined your skin drawing near in perfection.
Ateruw is the name of this flood that knows my name,
gliding past my eyes on either side.

I could tell the eyes of the sky
that the Earth-God has summoned me;
His arms flashing with turquoise,
His limbs of burnished gold making a mirror of my skin;
but my hands caught the river
in their eager net of flesh,
with kisses and devotion sliding beneath his surface.

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these prayers my lips have woven one by one;
into the flood they have slipped with desire,
to flash beneath the surface for my hungry net.
Rosy gold and most holy stone have dropped from my sight,
their words of value still singing to my ears;
and I will never let them go, once their song has faded.

I have sung songs the sacred river knows,
wrapped in heady myrrh on a festival day.
Their words catch the Gods in a net of perfume,
carried on sandalwood with jasmine flowers in bloom.
They are the jewels that draw near in perfection,
as other voices slip through the holes my net leaves;
and I will never let them go, once their time has ended.

I could tell the ears of the river
that the Sky-Goddess has summoned me;
Her thighs embraced by a canopy of stars,
Her golden breasts full for my hungry lips;
but my hands caught the clouds
in their quick net of lust,
with my spirit and intentions lost beneath his surface.

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these flowers the Gods dropped one by one
into their earthly garden;
carnelian, jasper, and real lapis lazuli,
catching the breath of the sky by the tip of Her tongue;
these jewels the Gods have let slip by me,
one by one into the river they love.

I have loved, too, as I dropped my shadow for you,
wrapped in a heart of fiery red stone
on the glare of a midsummer day;
taking to the holy sycamore that drew near to kiss me,
as I imagined your soul drawing near in perfection.
Ateruw is the name of this vessel that holds me,
gliding past my eyes on either side.

I could tell the lips of the earth
that the Gods have summoned me;
their souls of turquoise like flames rising high,
their wings of lapis lazuli holding the sun in His mirror;
but my hands caught the western mountains
in their net of flesh and bone,
with my heart and shadow lost beneath his surface.

I have held the jewels the Gods once held,
wrapped in their mysteries
on the skin of a festival day;
taking to the waters that slip by the net of my eyes,
tempting my hands with perfection as they draw near.
They are the words my soul’s ears will always hear,
and I will never let them go, once my heart has mended.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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