Gift

More

All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf
—ISAIAH 64:6

After my mother's father died,
she gave me his morocco Bible.
I took it from her hand, and saw
the gold was worn away, the binding
scuffed and ragged, split below the spine,
and inside, smudges where her father's
right hand gripped the bottom corner
page by page, an old man waiting, not quite
reading the words he had known by heart
for sixty years: our parents in the garden,
naked, free from shame; the bitterness of labor;
blood in the ground, still calling for God's
curse. His thumbprints faded after the flood,
to darken again where God bids Moses smite
the rock, and then again in Psalms, in Matthew
every page. And where Paul speaks of things
God hath prepared, things promised them who wait,
things not yet entered into the loving heart,
below the margin of the verse, the paper
is translucent with the oil and dark
still with the dirt of his right hand.

Brooks Haxton is the author of several books of poems and verse translations, including Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus (2001) and Uproar: Antiphonies to Psalms (2004).
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In