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There are figures, some with fingers crossed, skirts
to hips, legs splayed, cocks between lips, sweet fat

drops on tongues — it’s anonymous, what hurts.
Like the bodies on the telly, Shamhat

once held sway with what lay between my thighs.
In that whiskey-blurred haze I’d lose my breath

but I understood those toe-curling sighs.
Now I don’t want to be touched. Once death

gets bored with the lonely, I guess, the groan
of cheap vibrators, that’s it. Shamat, I don’t

pretend to understand why I hurt so.
And yet, despite all this, I’ve always known

something would return, even if you won’t.
Tonight I will bath in smut’s healing glow.


In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Shamat is the sacred prostitute who civilizes the wild beast, Enkidu. Besides her name literally meaning, “the luscious one,” she is also one of my patron saints.