Cheryl L. DaytecYañgot
Reproaching Abraham - Poem by Cheryl L. DaytecYañgot
'Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.'
-From the Book of Genesis
If God did not stop you, Isaac would have died
like a promising sunflower nipped in the bud
The Jews would be tracing their genealogy through
another bloodline (but that is another story)
How would you have felt the moment, days,
months, or years after the slaughter?
The sound of a boy’s voice would send shivers down
your spine, plague your dreams at night, steal your
strength by day. You would forget your own name.
For reason would forsake you every time the
sun illuminates the entire face of the moon.
Heavenly bodies would rule your moods and vision
Mothers would scoff at the womb that bore you
and harbor no pity at the sight of your big body
wandering shorn of direction and a mind, like a
weightless papyrus litter drifting on the Nile.
To agree to stain your hands with the blood of your blood,
the bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh –
Is this not perversity more heinous than Cain’s?
I want to know, because the storyteller omitted it-
Did you make Isaac prepare his own deathbed?
With the total faith of a child in his father, he must
have obeyed you, for a father’s parricidal design
is too large a vice to reside in a child’s small mind
He must have sprinted away, happy to please his
father -for he was one fine boy - and gathered
every kindling, every twig his frail arms could.
An innocent tiny boy building his own funeral pyre
Is a thought my mind cannot welcome. Yet,
it keeps intruding. Is it the mother I am or the child within?
Isaac’s breath was Sarah’s near-impossible dream.
How many summers came and went that she longed
to nurture your seed in her ovary for nine months?
You heard her wail to the heavens. Every dropp of her
tear was like a slit in your heart for you loved her.
You lost count of the animals she burnt to placate
The One who could make a cradle of her gentle arms.
Her spirit was resilient until she stopped going to the
Red Tent; blood stopped flowing between her legs
God loves the womb-for through it life multiplies itself.
Says the story teller, He granted Sarah’s lifelong prayer
Without second thought, you were willing to smother it!
My ancestors worshipped yours and Sarah’s God
They called him Kabunian, the God of Reason
the God of Truth and Justice, the God of Love
the Great Defender of the weak, like children
He would have listened if you argued your son’s case
You pleaded for Sodom even if it cared not for refugees,
and begged God not to breathe His wrath upon it
(and for this, I am your admirer, however it may look)
Where was your voice when He said, ”Slay your son! ”?
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