Friday Poem


the Lord your God is a consuming fire

The stories of the gods outshine the moon

your story is darkness outshining the sun

we hide our eyes because of your fire

at the moment of the mountain

let not God speak to us lest we die

no wonder history gives us

cities like widows

sitting in their menstrual blood

no wonder book of revelation surges up

four horsemen orgy of vengeance

after nonviolent gospels

no wonder swarms of Christian soldiers

burning libraries

burning heretics

no wonder chapel in Cuzco

sculpted conquistador striding upon

the prone body of an Indian

no wonder imams cut hands off sinners

no wonder the Jewish lunatic murders worshipers

in a place of reconciliation

everybody trying to look goes blind
by Alicia Ostriker
from The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012