Tag Archives: jacob

My Jacob

Empathy here, at the genesis, a garment
worn to wrestle. The hip bone
wrenched at dawn. A new name
for one at the end of himself. Stones
ground under heels overnight. He won’t go,

that heel-grabber, he wants a full-face
blessing. Under his torn garment,
throbbing with honest pain, his hip bone
is ID’d by my thumbprint. My name:
he knows it. He left it with the stones,

that time he gave my house my name,
rested his head and dream-laddered to me on pillow-stones.
So I won’t go,
and he’ll see the lines of kindness that write my face.
And I’ll feel the pain shouldered under his garment,

thumb-pressed into memories of when he had to go,
flee a father who could not see his face,
the hairs barely plucked free of his garment.
He knows the throbbing truth, has picked it from the bone:
his brother was right when he spat the heel-grabber name.

And yet. He grabs the other truth while we grind stones:
I want to make room for him, to let him go
with a memory of my face.
He will get a chance to replace this garment,
the one holy-torn to our contention’s bone.

Fast backward and forward to other bruised bone:
His own father with sticks carried on boy-shoulders, carried in the name
of a ram-surprised sacrifice. Then, those stones
that cried at the sight of battered shoulders, cross-ready to go.
You will cry, too, at my thorn-pressed, pain-readable face.

At the dawn there I am, and you have a new name.
When your pillows are stones, your dreams wrestle with bruised bone,
remember your holy-torn garment, read my love-legible face.

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Onesimus

Onesimus is a first century runaway slave, who returns to his master Philemon with a cover note from the apostle Paul. Paul wants Philemon to take him back “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (Philemon 1:16).

Onesimus
                   On the road to Phrygia

Oh!      Neh!    Sih!      Muss!
Keep on:
Want to see more walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Oooooooooh!  Nesimus
Check your pocket:
Still got that letter from Paul?
Good.  Have a rest, a short rest
It’s a short letter that requires a lifetime’s reading.

Onesimus….nesimus…mussssss
You’re nearly there:
Some last words of encouragement:
You are useful.  More than you know
Yes, I know that your name means useful
It’s what slaves are.

Onesimus
Gone now.
I wish you could know:
Many will rush to greet you,
even if Philemon doesn’t.
Someone will take you inside, another will pull out your chair;
and yes, that casserole on the table-
it’s made from fatted calf.
There will be many angry big brothers,
huffing on the doorstep.
Why are they so angry?
It’s because of all of us,
all of us couldabeen shoudabeen wouldabeen slaves.
We’re no longer slaves,
we’re no longer useful to them.

Onesimus, Onesimus
Who knows?
Maybe Philemon will fall upon your neck with
hairy welcome
And, just there, right there, Jacob will clap the loudest.
Onesimus, Onesimus.  More than Onesimus.
Keep walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Danielle Terceiro 2015

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