We ate our people’s roots but no-one’s meat
or wine, and hung our harps on willow wands
unplayed by winds. I read our people’s book
and found the number there of years we must
be slaved. From sorrow we’d forgot to look.
I turned toward the wall and would not play.
I told Yahweh it must be His to count
the years, I said “We are your portion
in the earth. You’re poor. We’re all you’ve got.”
The instant when our sins should slash a vein,
when lambs are hushed their crying by a blade,
the legate Gabriel enpierced my room.
A word went out. He said. An actual word,
resuscitating sentences, germ cells of books,
as books are matrices for nations. Words
went out at dusk and I have fought celestial
orcs to bring them home. Get up, get out,
go virgin to a virgin couch and and kiss a virgin
mouth, plant stories in your fields, fire
pots for wines, and sing new wedding psalms
beneath your virgin vines. Go home.