Henry Rasof

In Issue 4 on October 31, 2009 at 7:46 am

Inside Abraham’s Tent

A visitacion had not occurred
For some time

And now he sat on one side
Of the long row of beat-up wood tables
Piled high every which way with books
In a language he did not understand

He tried to explain
That at one time blood sacrifice
Was the rule
And asked why
If blood were the essence of the life force
He was being asked now to pour it on the earth
And suck on the dry dead meat

Came a marvelous shimmering
In the language he did not understand
Translated into the language he did
So that his brain was bifurcated,
All thought dispelled, an odd quietude
As he was being asked to stretch
The part of his mind that understood
To that part which did not
Although the languages were not the same

A visitacion had not occurred for a very long time
So that now, with the darkness taking shape outside
And overhead the clear penetrating ethereal white light
Of the moon before the harvest,
All before him began to dissolve into the simple
Of the letters assembled on the page
In such a way as to evoke in him a lost forgotten music
So powerful he wanted to shout, cry, escape
Into and through the roof
Ascend from a base built of years of solitude
Transfixed in waiting for the too good to be true
To come true once and finally and for all

His sexual power too stirred
So that overall the effect blocked even his
Compulsion to question everything, just
Whew was all he could say after it was all over
Shaking hands, I wanted to go through the roof,
Not because I was mad, all mixed up . . .

The shimmering blindingness of the light
Permeated into his centres, circulating,
Becoming the meat, bleeding now,
Explained, power drawn
From the words in the language not understood,
Revitalized, coming down, once
Starved, now only hungry. . . .

Henry Rasof has degrees in music, creative writing, and Jewish studies; teaches an online graduate creative nonfiction course at the University of Denver; has published in print and audio magazines and anthologies, including Bachy, BaoBab, Beyond Baroque, Bits, Black Box, Gallimaufry, Kansas Quarterly, Partisan Review, and Text-Sound Texts; has a web site,; and does Jewish creative-writing activities with first- through fourth-graders.


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