I’m Sorry, Lo-Ruhamah (2004)

On the night of the forty-ninth infidelity
It went unnoticed
That the book of the law had gone unopened.
It spoke in the voice of a father
Stricken at his daughter’s leaving
For she was near, and perfect
and given to lie in a young man’s bed.

On the night of the forty-ninth infidelity
It went unnoticed
That the words of the wisest went unheard.
He spoke in the voice of a young man
With a lover newly promised.
He thought her near, and perfect
And so prepared a bed for her.

On the night of the forty-ninth infidelity
It went unnoticed
That the message of the prophets was “no, not yet.”
They spoke in the voice of husbands who,
Waiting in the years long since
She was near, or perfect,
Still every night prepare her bed.

On the night of the forty-ninth infidelity
It went unnoticed
That the poetry of the king was lamentation.
He spoke in the voice I speak in now,
At the time when kings go off to war,
Who’ve traded the perfect for the near
A stolen lamb for a marriage bed.

On the night of the forty-ninth infidelity
It went unnoticed
That the best man spoke his last.
He spoke in the voice of a fatherless son,
Calling out with unrequited voice.
“Your father’s gone” her answer comes
From my forsaken bed.


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