We sat in the tent and you complained again of our condition, knowing what lies just out of reach. He speaks to me, not you and there is little you can do to hide your jealousy. I often wonder what might have happened if I had wiped the blood of the lamb from your lintel. It was you who watched the calf take shape and did nothing, seeing it a personal tribute, and ordained its fashion and for your sin we shall be together forgotten men in the land of Moab.
Mark your doorpost with the blood of the lamb for this may be the night when God’s emissary arrives for the killing of the first born. Will he be a night bird half raven, half vulture or an aged man concealing his weapon in shabby robes.
Mark your doorpost and check it often for if your neighbor wipes the blood away, you will be visited and no amount of pleading will deter him from his task. There are no interim plagues remaining to buy you time, if he chooses to come tonight.
Put your ear against the window and listen for him. Will he come on cat’s paws or the rasp of lungs slowly drowning?. Will coins jangle in his pocket, to pay your fare to the ferryman?
But if you do not believe, perhaps he will forget to come.
First published in The Right to Depart, Plain View Press (2008)
If I asked you for one word how would you answer? In your dreams, do you have both arms, can you write your thoughts on a scrap of paper and tuck it away? You had a lover, once, and he would trace his finger along your thigh. Do you miss that touch as you rub the jagged scar? Can you taste the lamb simmered slowly, fragrant, the sauce dredged by the crusty bread, or do you only taste the hard tack tossed from the truck? If they gave you back your tongue and I asked you for one word how would you answer?
First published in “Eureka Literary Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2,(c) 1997, Eureka College