Today's poem is by Morri Creech

The Wife of Job

    Well, now, I never heard the whirlwind speak
            to me—though 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 here—the 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 you—but 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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