—–—(Son of Commandment)
I chose for my passage the twenty-second chapter of Genesis.
It is the First Book. I am my parents’ first book.
My mother is the only woman I know who can read.
The priests bind her hands behind her when she leans above the scrolls,
and then only in the week following her mikvah do they allow it.
She cried when I chose my passage, covered her face and trembled.
Her hands clawed at the ashes in the hearth. My father says it’s a good passage.
We practice it, singing together the verses as he pulls splinters from my hands.
Each day I tell him I am old enough to pull my own splinters.
I love the moment when G-d’s voice stays Abraham’s hand
and Isaac lives. For my commentary, I will speak of Jephthah,
though it will disturb the priests, and ask
whether Isaac ever loved his father again.
Devon Miller-Duggan teaches at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas), Alphabet Year (Wipf & Stock), and The Slow Salute, a Lithic Press Chapbook Competition Winner.