James Scully  

 

ISAAC

 

It’s not true
Isaac was an innocent

who could survive
such innocence?

he knew on the instant
he’d been set up
as a sacrificial lamb
or goat
or adolescent ram

the kindling he’d gathered
the stake
the ropes
the homely paraphernalia
all were ready, waiting

their silence calling to him
like old Kronos’
hairy mouth, tearing itself open
to devour his own sons

so Abraham himself
knife in hand, waiting
by the god’s command
stood calling him to the pyre
hurry hurry
to run the knife across
the young animal
Isaac’s throat

and yet . . .

what was Isaac saying?
what was he doing
dissolving the blade
honed to a whisper
in Abraham’s own blood?
the blood of an old man!
his own father!

whatever passed then
through Abraham
rushed
blacker than his own blood
into bitter earth . . .

This is the true story
that may not be told
in anyone’s lifetime,
surely not in the lifetime
of Abraham’s god
the god, also, of Isaac

 

 

 

from Oceania 2008

 


OCEANIA a sheaf of poems Azul Editions 2008.jpg

Oceania a sheaf of poems
 Azul Editions 2008

Woodblock print

Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”