New Abram

Charles G. Dennison

Light breaks over his shoulder
the king shades his Sodom eyes
the feast is finished
the wine and bread exhausted
and a tenth sent off to Salem.

"The balance, my son, take it all
only leave me the company
for my shrine. Please

Count me among your friends
dine with me at nine. Tonight
we serve kosher in your honor
and circumcise all our sons."

Comfortable at court, learning to smile
and ignore the hand recently sworded
blood-sated that too quickly
clasps the cup and breaks bread over
the yellow metal and green-clodded land
long, too long denied.

The shaded face, the black, black eyes
the still small voice so clear, so audible
tells your mission; and the captives
for whom you fought are gathered
for renovation and irrepressible thanks.

Now we will see; now we will see
this baptist embrace his Herod
not for the gold, not for the ground
but for the proximity, the access,
the adjulation, the debt owed
discharged, leaving the city
late-visited without an intercessor.

Through the gates on a gloomy
afternoon, the streak of a storm
in the west rising off those
ragged hills. "I know home (is)* too
far to reach before it breaks
so I turn back where I know I
am well-loved."



*A handwritten version of this poem dated 5/10/89 contains the insertion clarifying the meaning of this line.