I Kept a Vigil at Your Cow (Translation of Ineptus, 2nd Century B.C.E Alexandrian Poet)

I kept a vigil
at your cow.

I thought you would
come back for it.

I kept calling out
your name.

But it wasn’t
your cow!

Thieves came
and murdered me.

They took the cow –
which I had grown quite fond of.

Now, I keep a vigil
at the spot where I fell,

waiting for you to come
and offer sacrifice to the Gods

and shed tears that will
water the seed of my soul,

release it into a flower
that will rise through the ash.

With my death
has come wisdom.

You are no longer in my memory as
“the bitch who ruined my life.”

I should have known
it wasn’t your cow,

but all cows look
the same to me –

me, a simple barber
from the North Side of Alexandria –

and I should have had
a better plan

to win back
your love

than keeping a vigil
at your cow.

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