Sunday, April 30, 2006

Samson's wife

I did not mean to catch
his eye - the young giant of Israel,
the young son of our enemy. He wore
practically nothing, his body
gleaming in the sun. Some of the women
called him beautiful, followed him,
offered him water in the heat
of the day. I didn't see it. I saw
his narrow eyes, I saw his cleverness.

When he came to ask my father
for me, I could feel
those clever eyes on me, reading
my bowed head, my
downcast face. You please me well,
he said, but I said nothing.

Seven days our wedding feast lasted.
On the first day, as the sun sank red
in the west, he stood and laid it out
for them; the riddle. Eater and meat,
strength and sweetness. Thirty of this,
thirty of that, if they could not answer.
He laughed to see their faces, and then took me
into his house. Meat, he said, working
above me, sweetness.

They caught me by the well
on the sixth day, their hands hard
and desperate. We have not the answer,
they said. You must get it from him.
He gave them no choice. They gave me
none. A blade, a clenched fist. My cousin
spat at my feet.

Women have no country. We go where
we must, we cleave to those who
protect us. Setting his meat before him
I saw that he would never keep them
from me. I saw, behind his cleverness,
his weakness. His eyes followed me still,
my limbs, my body. I cast down my hair,
bared my breasts. I lay upon him and then
I wept. Do not you love me? I asked him. Tell me
then your riddle's answer, clever my lord.

I no longer believe that I was
the cause of all that came after. The
slaughter and the fire, the death and ruin.
He was god-ridden, his rage a wind blowing
all before it. I was only the first to close
those clever eyes - he was born
to be betrayed.


Post a Comment

<< Home