Taking Stock by Kate Partridge
Associate poetry editor Sara Ryan on today's bonus poem: In quiet couplets, Kate Partridge’s “Taking Stock” illustrates a moment of grief and history between Utnapishtim and Siduri of the The Epic of Gilgamesh. The two do not speak, but exchange in a language of motion and the senses. The reader can't help but linger on the stack of coins, the hearth, the mouths of two wolves, the wine, Siduri weeping. This poem leads us carefully, and deliberately, to a loud underneath.
When Utnapishtim arrives in the dark
with more firewood, Siduri is in her usual
position—crying, feet propped on another
chair beside the hearth. She doesn’t apologize
anymore, just nods to the stack of coins
on the counter and gestures at the bottle of wine.
He shrugs and adjusts his mittens, the mouths
of two wolves hinged between his fingers
and thumbs; makes a quick estimate of the woodpile,
leaves with the axe propped behind the door.
Siduri thinks to ask what time it is,
but decides that winter is close enough.
Kate Partridge received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Colorado Review, Arts & Letters, and Blackbird. Her chapbook Intended American Dictionary will be published by MIEL Books in 2016. She teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves as a co-editor for Gazing Grain Press.