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Watching The Patriarch

I number strange omens.

This morning,

three white scorpions fell at my feet

and crawled into the light.

The wild dogs cower on the dung hill,

grinning and snapping at the empty air.

And see that? In bright day sun,

cockroaches come bellying out of the walls

and scatter over the blown sands.

The Amalekite boy snatches one up

to feed his yellow songbird 

in its cage of plaited reeds.

That child will go behind the wine shop

for a coin or even a piece of barley bread.

Poor slut. So it is,

so it always is for us –

the children of unclean gods.


I dream of water

and the folded tongue of reeds

that spring on the banks of the great river.

I number strange omens.


See over there?

Lot’s pale string of a wife is weeping.

His visions drive him into the desert.

They say he’s calling us god-cursed.

So we are, Master Lot, so we are.

In the forgiving night, he’s come to me

and put down two coins in my lap.

He weighed my breasts in the palm of his hands,

saying I was lovely as a desert spring.

Now he’s thrown dirt on his head

and covers his eyes as he passes me.

He does not look back.


Small stones rattle on the dunes.

Strange omens.

Watching The Patriarch: Text
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