February 29th: EXODUS.
An almost-year later, I think the festering Amalekites are dead now.
We spoke a language that belonged to different tongues–
Than the One that whispered us to life–
The curls and subtle rests of French
Behind windows fogged in lover’s vocabularies
The perfume of Egypt lured us close.
There were two kinds of slaves
The ones who were forced
And the ones who chose
But slaves nonetheless
Captive from birth
We tried to bury the idols
To put one last nail in the coffin of a god’s sarcophagus
That the pharaoh ordered built
Didn’t we know we were still in Egypt
Building the pillars of temples
For dead deities carved by our own hands?
Euphoric as the amphetamines are
They never rescued from reality
Never healed our leprosy
The Nile itself couldn’t quench our thirst
Our parched minds beheld mirages
Of vapejuice-thin promises
In between our serpentscaled eyes
Thinner than the air we swallowed
Supposing our lethargic thirst originated from each other,
Not the shifting dunes we settled in.
Fearless of what?
Cinderblock statues refusing to confront us?
Astrology-signs, comets that never penetrated the crust
Lingerings between the wish hour and sunrise
Panicked that windows would shut unbeknownst to us
Here in Egypt,
It didn’t matter that even morning was midnight.
Until Miriam called from the bulrushes
“Let my people go.”
It sounded like the Creator.
But there were plagues
Waterblood to starve our lips
Parting our nightly rituals
discerning the infection of your anxiety-care
as you cried what little tears you had left
Then the infernal frogs
Pestering us away from those languid tones
Begging for our return
Gnat-lice in our hairshapes
Flies of mormon congregation
Laying their eggs on my dead carcass
Our livestock began to die
Art, poetry, writing, academics
The aches we held for each other….
Fermented into blisters
We could barely stand ten minutes.
He called again
To let go
I clung closer to her
She felt warm, safe
And I found that for her, I had the audacity to stand fearless in front of God.
It wasn’t until the hail came
Searing and sizzling the sidewalks in a frozen bite
An iceburn that somehow arrested our cardiacs
While I walked for hours in the cold
Breathing steam into questions for the air
While the pellets of snow bounced
In zigzag freefalls
Off my black shackle jacket.
If that was okay;
Consumed epidermal lusters
Leaving scars, wrinkles, eyecircles
It was our bonds and tally-scars
Long ago last year today
Molten red chains forged
Sustained in our souls
We were captives
Not to gods
Not to kings
But to us.
It doesn’t take Theology
To know that night will come.
Bondage began in black
And ended just the same
Quell the lamplight
Shut the windows
Mummify the day
We seized our searing
Burned our fearing
Crouched in separate manners
Like incense fills a temple
You could smell our fear
Until the pollution dissipated
Ashes alone left betwixt
The hieroglyphs of sin.
Threw his rod into a snake at our toes
But we could make snakes too
Out of the lies flicking from tongues
Making us into gods
Just like in the garden.
Not lethal… just deadly. You know?
When you can bend the steel blade
That scathes into your soul
With your teeth.. that’s when
You know you are your
DIY miracles made indentured deserts.
God didn’t want that.
In fact, He just wanted the firstborn of my idols
The throne I set her on
Desecrated by her warm cinnamon eyes
And the chain they clamped in my soul.
So swooped He to His knees
And starved three days
The thieves of His scepter
With a silence of night
Where I curled into knees
Crumpled under ice-cracked lamps
In front of the garage because
She played blaring distractions
After the election.
His knees were on the cement
Wiping the tears in my Arctic ocean eyes
His own firm holiness choking out of me
What drought and ice hadn’t molested
Frosting my lashes at the corners
Painting blood on the doorstep of my heart
Lines embordering a cell
Preventing my death
With His own.
He commanded that I stay inside one more night
In the silence
And I awoke to find the throne empty
A pharaoh, loss of rule, lost of firstborn,
Begging me to leave,
Pointed hopelessly toward the Lamb
Sitting in her place.