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The one he was allowed to love,
the one. But I would trade my place,
would rather have been sent away,

the older, the wrong brother,
not the one God wanted. O that the firstborn
might live by your favor,
he said to God,

milder than a prayer,
but made no plea
when told to sacrifice me.

There the firstborn strangely goes
out of the picture, with his half
of a blessing, to see the world,

spared the hard sunlight,
love’s expectancy
and weight. O let me live

to one side, somewhere
in the shade where God
won’t see, where my
father’s voice can’t reach.

If I called his name
he’d appear at once saying
here I am, wringing his hands,

still feeling in his grip
I suppose
the knife,
enacting sorrow. You could say
it worked out in my favor—
he does not apologize. But my mother

gave up her spirit and died of it
and he is a ghost, addressing
a ghost who does not answer now,
who has not come to him again.
I want my brother back.
Vayera, Genesis 18:1–22:24


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