They, too, have stood, smitten and bemused,
angered at the violence of kings, caught
between a rock and the roiling ocean, between the glimpsed

shadow of a retributive deity and the gentle features
of he-who-is-to-come; they would fasten down
the voice they hear calling to them, though they know

there is no voice, only that salt
catching of pity in the throat, that coiled-fist
striking for justice that hardens the stomach’s pit.

The citizens build new monuments and high glass towers
to mirror the marching past of immaculate
high-stepping armies. The minor prophets

fling their hands up in their rage before they pass
into the ringing silence of the Good Book; all you hear
is a contented humming, like bumble-bees

busy among the brambles on a summer afternoon:
Obadiah, Zacharias, Micah and Malachi,
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai and Nahum.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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