And HE said: Take now your son, your only one, whom you love,

Isaac, and go forth to the land of Moriah . . . Genesis 22:1.


I heard the old man raving in his sleep

and knew.

There would be no

talking him out of it.

I crept out, picked


a ram from the flock and drove it

ahead of me, doubled over

my stick. I knew

his ways.

Hid waiting.


When I saw

the old man stumble up at last,

I twisted my fingers in the wool

to keep our mouths shut. I endured


the building of the fire and altar the way

I’d endured labor at ninety. And the sweet voice

asking, But where is the sheep?

I couldn’t watch

the binding. When sun

sparked off flint, I sprang


from behind and clobbered him.

I hoped he was dead.

When he stirred,

I met Isaac’s eyes, already stunned

dumb, and signaled,


Slipped back

into the bush, cut the ram free,

bleating. Abe staggered

up, fell on it, weeping.

Oh, he thanked me

then, without seeing me,                            called me Angel

and Vision,

                                    babbling to his Voice.


No story tells

how he untied the dear limbs

and what passed between the two of them

on the jarring trek back down the mountain.







Photo by Lauren Tucker


About Author


Barbara Louise Ungar’s latest book, Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, was a poetry best-seller for Small Press Distribution upon its arrival this spring from The Word Works. Prior books include Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a Silver IPPY, an Eric Hoffer Award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing Poetry Award. She is an English professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

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