Sunday, April 8, 2007


And there was a man in Maon... shearing his sheep in Carmel....
the name of the man was Nabal; ...his wife [,] Abigail;....
And David heard...[and] sent out ten young men,... (1 Samuel 25:1-5)


Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? (1 Samuel) 25:10

Naked they skit as the shears quit their clack.
Heads tack, haunches bound, seeking open turf.
Quake, shake, wash their faces in wind.
———Kick, jump, come ground.
———Strip by strip, fleeces mount.

Women card—discard the skimpy strands,
Draw the long to loom (short to soften straw)—
And cook: we wolves get our lamb. Wine
——to wash down the dust, the fleece, the grease. Just then,
——ten come on, dripping respect.
Their master, they call him, begs mutton.

Mutton I have. Master none.
He has no master—no mutton but messengers
(Messengers mean, and like,
whether fed or unfed, to grow muttonous)

I like 'em lean—keep what they can
—————eat what they shear
——————————shear what they keep
———————————————keep what I let
(mutton on mutton's monotonous.)

Though ravenous, they bear unbloodied paws,
000profess friendship and... protection. "Peace
000"be with you," they say and: Peace attend you," and
"May peace follow peace into peace and

"May we please have a piece of your piece please?"

I set my goblet down.
My shearers' faces rose—
00000a touch of mauve
00000from the sandstone—crimson bits
00000from accidental nicks

(Wooly black hair with straight white teeth)

00000"Protection?" I ask, turning back to the ten,
00000"From what?" "From who?"
"Well... from-from bears, from... lions, from"

00000"My shepherds?"

When faces flush, men start to sink, but
00000pink back to white it's a hell of a stink!
0000000000Laughter, like water, it tempers the tip.

Eyes open shut,
00000the last thing that happens is
What happens—I wake, head heavy, a stone chest. Her eyes
00000open and narrow in turns,
00000glint as they tug invisible strings
00000tied to the corners of her half open mouth, which jerk
00000their confessions in concert.

I grow wool on my chest; on my back
00000pricks the ball,
A long yarn's a short tale!

00000A shawl,
0000000000lighter than fleece,
floats to my face—I can't breathe—it smells of


ABIGAIL let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord be as Nabal. (1 Samuel 25: 26)

My husband owned all this
00000three thousand head of sheep, a thousand goats
All that 'til he showed up,
00000wanting to be fed—him and his men.

Protected them, my servant said,
00000while they remained 'conversant'
0000000000whatever that means

Well, my husband-the name means fool, not stupid
00000Did his shepherds go hungry?
"Every budding blade a renegade!" he muttered,
00000"Every master his whetstone!"

But these were no lamblings.
Five hundred. At least. Unarmed.
00000For the present.
So I saddled, sent fare and followed.

In good time. They were striding.
But he that strode in front—I
00000caught something in his face—it
00000burned like a wisp too close to the sun. 0Decisive
That impressed me-the quickness of his change of mood,
00000the sharpness of his perception.

I approached as one befitting my station.
00000000000000000000000He lifted me.
How wrong it is to shed blood he said and I
000000000000had spared him the deed—I
00000000000000000was clever, he said
0as his lower eye scanned my lower lids
00000000where wetness was the stone
0000he honed his lids upon which rose
000000000and in the upper chamber saw
00000000000000my husband stagger, fall,

000000000000000000000ask as I rose, floating
00000my eyes gleaming my heart gloating
0000000for the love of an uncrowned king.

It took ten days or so it felt for the fool to die and then
00000as our eyes promised
0000000000came the proposal I expected.

Modesty demanded a modest answer:
"I?" I asked: "I, the wife of David?"
I think I said
00000something like
00000I wasn't fit to wash his feet as I grabbed my
000000000000000cloak. My shawl
000000000000000caught a splinter at the door frame.

I looked back.

A farm's a son's—a kingdom
0000000000000000belongs to an heir
0000000000000000(he who draws the deepest breath)

00000A wife's the one who holds it best.

The day was close—I played the wind:
00000caught and held the folds of the fabric

00000000000000000000and let it hang


..., Go up in peace to thine own house; see, I have harkened
to thy voice and I have accepted thy person. (1 Samuel 25:35)

Abram and Adam were my fathers
00Before that dust
00Before that nothing:
the deep: endless descent.

Light, a day
00Night, we count,
0000recount the gain.

The slingshot, the sword:
00a giant's head on a pike—
0000that got me the weal
00of men—spokes afire
spanning a still small voice

Steppe and rise, pitch and plain:
000land the people possess
000—creases in the palm—
possess these people.

She came as I pressed up the path
000armed with providence, the eyes providing.
She was loam, fertile,
000set in the circle for ploughing.

In her master's house
000a field unsown, untilled.
She knew it
000and knew that I knew.

Ten days later she was mine.





Stars hone themselves on the strop of a scent.

Kerchief floats
catching the tip of a crescent moon

I count:


to the deep,

floating on the surface of a scent.

——A new wife!
(my little joke) is
——a new life.

————————————————Day gains.
————————————————————Night gains.

———————————Dust I will soon enough.
———————————Today, God willing,

——————the clay:

——————The palm, its finger,
———————————the wheel, its spoke,
——————————————Burning branch, root
—————————————————and trunk entwined.

———————————————And now to rest.
———————————And dream.

© Dan Goorevitch

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