THE PEOPLE OF LAISH

 

The Danites came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting:  
and  smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.  
And there was no deliverer. . . Judges 18:27-28

In the morning, a woman walked to her field,
stopped, puzzled by moving shadows,
a far rattle of sound she’d never heard.
In the crackling ruin of that night
jackals circled the city,
waiting for the flames to die.

We create gods in our image.
The god of Dan, glorious in battle,
adept with fire;
the god of Laish, quiet and unsuspecting,
no deliverer.

The one time god created itself in our image
we didn’t like it:
too messy, too common.
Bones, and a great deal of blood.
Not the sort of deliverer anyone wanted.

I walked early today down the usual road:
dark woods on my left,
cut hayfields on my right.
Against the blue bulk of mountains,
one wisp of cloud drifting up,
blowing apart in the sunrise.

 

1998

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