I am a teller of familiar tales. I sit upon this jagged rock, high above the ancient story. Who am I?
The old virile man trudged up the mount, each step a sacrifice belaboured with a trust miscarried. Time to time he laid his hand against the knife buckled to his side, each brush of fingers against the hilt, unwanted test of faith. Anger at this fierce request. Those year-torn promises, stars and sand, denied in this. Each trudging step a heavy plod into the dark necessity of life. A life, unmolded to desire, compressed instead to duty’s call. Each step accompanied by the son who hiked unwitting at his side, bore wood to lay upon the stone of his own sacrifice. How long that journey must have seemed, forever to the death.
I am, today, the virile man, though others call upon the son. Will there be, perchance, a ram for me, to rescue this, my child? And will I dare to trudge ahead, heavy, lay the wood and raise the knife? And will I hear the unexpected voice and stop the force of my obedient thrust? Or turn, negotiate desire, again take Hagar to solve the riddle of God’s madness?
Once upon a time, a brown-cloaked man with laughing eyes teased me into the forest of play. And I said Yes, and Yes and Yes. I did not see the mount, nor son, nor wood. I thought the knife for throwing games, a carnival of joy. And here I am, this mountain, loss of dear and difficult desire. Vast mist of grief enshrouds all worlds to be. You’ve played a trick on me, damned gleaming-eyed bastard. I cannot bear this trudging faith of duty borne to sacrifice of love. What ram will thickets hold for me, for this, my son, my sacrificed desire?
Unless I’ve got the story wrong—oh god, I do.
I am the ram, not faithful, love-torn man nor longed-for child unaware. For what is life but sacred thicket, thorned particulars, and I the trapped one, willed to death, for life?
© 2005 Virginia Wiles