A series of rough drafts written on Sundays
“Night of Watching”
Egypt stands in the door
and watches the children of God
as they hurry away with bread on their backs
and Joseph’s bones in their arms.
She is still numb from waking up
next to a corpse,
and finding another
down the hall.
She will never get the taste of blood
out of her mouth.
She still sees things creeping
in the corners of the room–
frogs, gnats, flies, locust.
Her cattle are long dead,
and her crops long flattened
by God’s righteous hail.
She presses her fingers into her forearms,
but the flesh still smarts
with the memory of the boils:
a fine dust over the land.
Even though the terrible darkness
has finally ended,
she still feels it shrouding
the vacant spaces of her heart.
If only she could bend his ear
and soften his heart,
they might have been spared.
But now she is ruined, and her son
lies still in the upstairs room.
She almost laughs–after all,
who can change the heart of a man?
She stands in the door with silent eyes
and her pale hand flutters near her throat,
clutching for her favorite necklace,
but she finds it, too, is gone.
God’s children are led out
on this night of watching–
covered and set free.
Now it is she who is enslaved.