Ezekiel, Chapter Twenty-five

The adulterer prayed: take away the hunger
from my eyes. And in three days the fruit
stall in the soft entrails of the city
became a cluster of dry wood and bone,
the bulbous plums, erect bananas,
fat sweating paw-paw became sin,
and the parade of open skirts, big
thighs, and mindless breasts became
the stern reproach of a grandmother's
starched cotton, the architecture of girdles
and sensible stockings multiplying
themselves on the city's street.
And the lake was like glass, the mountains
covered in blood; and all choice meat
dropped into the open pot simmered
in its own blood, the scum,
a rippling of fat and blood gathered
on the surface. No wonder the priest
let it all burn to the brittle wood
and bone fuel of the fire, leaving
that sticky black residue of flesh
caramelized—oh, how sweet the fat is!—
no wonder the pot melted until nothing
remained but the blackened bones
and the testament of how the earth
will face its sun. The adulterer
is learning the sterile futility of purity,
how the absence of sacrifice is no answer
to desire; how the proffered eyes
must be prepared by the shedding
of its blood into the dirt so the sand
can cover it before the sweet stench
of sacrifice can rise slowly up
into the pink vulva of the sky.

by Kwame Dawes

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