He worked for years on the tablet,
deciphering the pictographs. He knew
it was a kind of language, those images.
An eye. A bird, maybe a crow.
A basket of wheat. A ladder.
Did the order of the images matter?
He cross-referenced similar texts.
He studied the history of the region
and satisfied many hours in the tablet’s service.
In a cousin language, a ladder
was the word for happiness, to rise up,
to be lifted above the ordinary.
After years of work, he sorted it out.
It was poetry, bad poetry, adolescent.
It read: “Today, I am happy,
happy all this day, today.”
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.