Joseph, At The End Of History

 

If we must understand
the world and dangle
it from our fingers
like a porcelain mug,

then our eyes
will always hook
its angled handles,
our desires
bowed and arrowed,
tabled and listed,
slapping each other like
the numbered tiles
guiding through the prayers
the congregation
integer by integer,

and we will act
most madly
to discover ourselves
in the counting,
pulled along by motive motors
like perps weighing gains
and losses
the way the police psychologist
would have told them to.

But if we needn’t know,
and let the cup fall,
we find all the stories
like neat chainmail
cannot wall off the bolt
that slew history
when she was a maiden —

That’s right! She has been
only a ghost:
The UN’s foul choice came
to answer the Zionist voice
which in turn was born
to a people torn from
the land to carry truth
forlorn in galuth
since G-d’s sacred domain
was by Romans profaned,
holy tablets displaced
long after deserting the wastes of Sinai
which never would
have happened
if history weren’t dead
because —

One morning,
rather than rattle against
his own meninges
or dwell on a decade’s pain,
the young Hebrew,
abandoned in Egypt to rot,
somehow chose
in a mind bound not
by money, biology, or electrons,
to ask two others
about their long faces,
and set in motion history,
the story marching
from the mystery
behind his eyes,
all explanations slain,
dead as
shards
of pottery.