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Atlanta Review’s International Publishing Award: Ravine #4, Fall 2017


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Ravine #4 Rebecca

That his seed would become like the stars,
like grains of sand through his son, Isaac,
who cringes still beneath the blade, a means,
he spilled out six sons.
Look, he said, speaking in third person,
come to bed
with your father’s wife, Keturah,
and make your binding as a son,
and raise up seed for your father
in his old age.

It as he who lured me, the patriarch –
acting through a servant –
with bracelets and a nose ring,
with the promise of abundance,
goats and camels.
the promise of flight;
brought me, veiled,
promised me to a weak man, weak as laughter,
forever trusting, forever a tool,
blind to betrayal,
blind to the dark flush of his father’s face;
bought my brother, Laban,
who pats down guests, now, with every embrace,
seeking treasures in the folds of their skin,
gold in their bones,
corrupted by a wedding gift
that came to me –
to be the cutting part.

Now, there is no un-saying what I’ve said,
no un-doing what I’ve done.
My sons are driven,
as their father was driven before them from Beersheba,
one east, the other north.
Their wives are strangers. Strangers.
Alone with the servants and this bleary old man,
who loves too much and will not be consoled,
my father’s generation,
I bend, I fill, I lift, I pour
and long, as ever,
with the longing of a bride
to be away,
to be anywhere else.


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