Suzanna Heyd
MIS/TRANSLATION
 

ZI-DÈ-EŠ ZA PÀ-DA (KERNEL): Incantation Tablets I -IV

I

zi-dè-eš za pà-da zé za-ha-ti
zé-me za-a-kam du zà-hi-li za

za zar-re-eš zu du zib izi íb

za-ba-tum zag-du zadim zu-ĥu-ul
za-na uzu zi nu zag tag za-na tag

zi-re za za za


Faithful, I chose to pluck
the curative kernel

Say: it is mine
its charmed borders mine: precious
gemstone bead hailstone pit.

Understanding piles up, leaves
its mark—burn scar, birth
mark, fire on the thigh

aromatic jewel from the threshold.
In the hands of a stone cutter
even seeds are pierced and threaded

puppet flesh I do not know
whether to orphan or embrace or adorn.

Uprooted, the sound still breaking,
still makes noise
this is the noise it makes

 

II

zi zu azu ra zi zu iazu ra
zi zu úzu ra zi zu ir ra

zú-lum-ma zíz-babbar
zi zibin za-na za gur gur zú
za-gìn zú numun zu
za-ra

zi-rí-gúm du zi-rí-gúm du

Physician of wisdom you are troubled
physician of oil you are sad
physician of water you are worried
doctor of knowledge you are broken

Sated on date fruit and white emmer wheat,
your faith on its caterpillar legs

led away. Your many selves

the beads strung together: ivory to glass to lapis
flint to obsidian to seed bone thorn to tooth to blade

Your speech is a tool for moving
irrigation waters. Bucket
hung from a swinging beam.

 

III

sa zibû mù zíd-bar-si mù
zíz-gú-nunuz zú du ur zú súd-súd

zag kal šuš a zalag zíz-bal
zag anzalub ús zi zu-a pà

zíd-dub-dub zar-re-eš
zag-bar sal zubu bar a-ra-zu

e zu zi-ga-àm

Roast barley with black cumin.
Grind two kinds of emmer wheat.
Crack the barley with your teeth.
Gnash. Label it valuable.
Wash away with water whatever was
lost in processing. Set aside

the husks. The pulp.
Leftover cuttings in heaps.

A sickle. What was
pared away.

This promise is acquainted with the rituals
of flour (pour: move in a circle:
shake: sprinkle off:
strew).

Say: it is mine.
Risen up.

 

IV

zi-ğál-la zú-gub zú záĥ-bi ra
zi-gan za-ra zi za-ra ši de zú

zíd-gu gaz zíd-za-tum kúr
zíd zú zi sig zi-šà za ğál

zi-zi-i zíz zàr dé-a zíd-kum
ud-ma zú zalag zi-ik-rum zí šem

zeh-gaba ab zú zag-ša ra-ah

zi uzu izi eme uzu-lib šub za-gìn

za-a-kam za-e du zil za-e zíd-gu

uzu-ì zur-zur zíd-gú-gal zur-zur

Living beings stand on their teeth.
Bite their way to the bitter
through harrows and rudders,

colored stones and oars—to the disappearance
door. A kind of refuge
in the fine infinity of their crush,

an undecipherable flour.

This time the flour is metaphor
though the teeth are not.
Any mention of breath must be
met with silence.

To keep a single kernel alive
requires a rebellion.

Sheaves of wheat must be
cleaned and mortar-ground to flour.
Show us your teeth

old-man bitter-herb she-goat sea.
The strength to devour comes through the throat.

Before the evening fire licks the mutton fat
clean from the meat. Say it is yours.

Your self. Peeled back, you are netted
flour, fatty meat scorched. An animal

rocks its body as it nurses.
Give the chick pea flour a shake.


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