___ Donatello, The Sacrifice of Isaac
The left hand still flexes with the boy’s death,
but on the right, a reprieve: the wrist wilts;
the blade grazes skin but slips from the throat.
This is faith: both hands obey the same voice,
even as the eyes strain beyond the altar,
where faith falters, not in terror of voices,
but at their terrible departures—
Sodom’s ashes. Ishmael’s thirst. The blade whetted
while the promise skips ahead. All things cleaved
and beloved; all things unveiled in blood.
And this, too, is love: the stars uncounted
above; the sand darkened, now, by the ram.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.