It was my lover at the door.
I heard his voice
I could not make out words. I saw his hand
at the latch
When I opened for him, he was gone.
I went out to search for him, street after lonely street, the whole world being at rest.
I saw the city watchmen, and foolishly I asked, “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
The watchmen beat me
they raped me
they took my cloak
they bound me hand and foot and threw me naked
out into the darkness
not the darkness of the city, shot through here and there with street lamps til they cannot tell the day from night
but the darkness of the desert where nothing can live.
There I stayed.
The desert stones cut me and did not let me rest
they cut the cords that bound me
until I was free
and I walked—
not back to the city
but into the desert where nothing can live, in search of my lover.
I walked until morning but morning never came.
I walked until summer but summer never came.
I walked to the ends of the earth, but the earth never came to an end.
I walked until I starved, and then I ate the stones.
I saw my lover and the lord of the world
He asked for a sign–
“Command these stones to become bread”
but no sign was given
for the stones were already bread.
And the Lord of the World departed from that place
and my lover was taken from my sight.
I set my face like flint, and walked til I came to the mountain.The side of the mountain was glass
the glass that forms when lightning strikes the desert
and I could see my face in the mountainside
as if the mountain was me.
At the top of the mountain I saw the Beloved and the Ewe Lamb
and above them was my lover,
his flesh all torn by desert stones.
When I touched the mountainside
it crumbled into sand,
and the sand was in my eyes so I could not see
and my ears so I could not hear
and on my tongue so I could not prophesy
or taste whether it was bread
or desert stones.
At the top of the mountain, I saw that my lover was gone, having descended to the dead.
And so I died.
And having died, I arose again
And I was lifted up above the stones
above the desert
above the mountain
until I saw the city no longer at rest.
I saw the Jews, the Gentiles, the Latins and the Greeks,
the old and the new together
the clean and the unclean
binding my lover
and casting him out
onto the desert stones.
I could see the writing on the walls of the city
MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN
you who stoned the prophets
you who killed the Son of Man
Your sins shall be laid bare
and not a stone shall be left upon another
until you become the desert and the desert becomes you.
And then I felt the fingers in the nail marks
and the hand thrust deep in my side
and I was one flesh with my lover
and I heard his voice
but this time I could hear the words he spoke.
My bride, I was with you all along.
(image via Pixabay)