Today's poem is by Morri Creech
The Wife of Job
Well, now, I never heard the whirlwind speak
to methough I did lose
my children to a windstorm, saw the lightning's sleek
flame have its way,
scorching the servants and the sheep,
and though I won't deny
that my husband herethe most pious man in Uz
still claims an angel whispers in his sleep,
a plain fact that I don't discuss in mixed company.
You've seen such men, eyes dazed with righteousness,
who think they catch a whiff
of sin in everything: a neighbor's Sunday dress
hitched just above
the ankle, or a child's stray smile
when pies cooled on the stove
or a few idle hours, say, tempt him to mischief.
Such men may fast, or pray; all the while
salt loses its savor and milk sours in the pail.
And wives grow tired. Oh, not that I complain,
mind youbut certain nights
Job prayed above me as if Jehovah lay between
the sheets with us:
his breath in my hair was like a psalm,
each spasm a new promise
heaven might fullfill. Job's ways were just and right,
no doubting that; though later, in the calm,
I'd listen to him snore and know we were alone.
Still, who would strive to be more just than God?
My husband, I suppose.
And everyone knows that saints are first to feel the rod
and lash of grace
descend upon their lives, to bear
the blade of sacrifice
above their squirming sons, or as the future grows
in their daughter's wombs, to know they've sown it there
needless to say, their wives and children share that grace.
We've sheep and sons to spare now, true enough;
and I've long salved the sores
that once blistered my husband's skin. But I've no love
or patience now
for piety. I do my chores,
darn clothes or mend the plough
and try not to think how such foolishness could stir
whirlwinds and voices, storms and random fires,
or draw down on us the thunder of the Lord's error.
Copyright © 2004 Morri Creech All rights reserved
from The Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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