The Babylonian dead needed food
and drink, too, though only a little.
The families must provide it
as surely as their babies
must be succored. Some
of King Ammisaduqa’s soldiers
died for him, had careless kin
who placed nothing on the ground
to nourish their dead.
The king’s heart was troubled
for those truly lost souls.
The family meal, kispa,
brought all descendents together,
but Ammisaduqa spread the feast
beyond lineal bonds.
Where blood was spilled on dry earth,
there he spread his charity,
an ancient gift shining
from tales scratched out
on the hard tablets of history.
By Carol Hamilton