Think of the father stopped just when the knife 
in his hand was coming down onto his son’s 
chest. How the angel who halted all that said 

God would settle for a ram. It was God’s idea
to begin with, killing sons. Proving obedience.  
But why would fathers have more children, 

if they could be dispatched with no more 
importance than a goat? Sons keep appearing, 
like her last child when she was over forty.  

His brothers and his sister leaned over the crib 
to see if he looked like them, or if  the angel 
had put an X on his forehead or a thin line 

across his abdomen or cords around a twisted 
foot.  What did that child see but eyes and eyes 
directed down on him as if he were important?   

No God or angel ever gave a damn how an egg 
made its way through the fallopian tunnel like 
a small animal trapped in a sewer. How it came 

into a Y-shaped darkness and something 
penetrated it, so now it was two made into 
one and later transformed, lifting its head,

a dark slime still being wiped away, the husk
of mother’s egg now its skin, its young brain 
awash in foreboding. Where was home?

Yes, leaves fall like days in perpetual autumn.
Yes, the green worm hangs by a thread and you
shiver when it touches your hair. Yes, the buds

open into flowers you cannot name or snip
to take inside. Yes, there are sharp edges on
certain fruits that will never reach the inside 

of your mouth. The son’s cry never lasted!  
Nor did his father’s, when the knife was raised 
over that man’s chest and the angel brought it down.   
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
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