They put my first born in my arms. His eyes
opened milky as any other lamb’s, and I
remembered my father watching my face
I prayed he would believe I was asleep.
I tell you it was not the knife
that was unforgivable, as he raised it
above me, it was what he said:
He loved me.
So we survived that night. For what? He owned me
like he owned sheep. I cannot even sing
my son to sleep. The only lullabies I know
I learned from my father.
As a child I would slip out of my father’s sleeping house
and wait for the caress—my cheek, my mouth, my ear—
trusting the tenderness: I talked back.
God is conversation—wild wind—is delight.
I was ready. I traveled this desert territory to marry
a man I did not know. They told me his name meant laughter.
As a baby, Sarah said, when he dimpled in smiles
the whole world touched joy. I found him
stuttering. His language destroyed in the name of God.
He cannot sleep unless I keep watch. He is afraid
to be left alone with sons. He wrestles with an empty
universe. Isaac—see how the night is inviting. The dark
soft as my breast. Look at the moonlight on my empty hands.
Listen to me—it had nothing to do with God.
Last year Rebekah Edwards was given the Eisner Award for Excellence in the Arts for poetry. She has also received the Mary Meritt Henry Poetry Award, the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prize and the Malcolm Wood Writing Award. Ms. Edwards also was awarded a National Endowment of the Humanities grant for non-fiction work.