1. THE SACRIFICE

On this tile
the knife
like a sickle moon hangs
in the painted air
as if it had learned a dance
of its own,
the way the boy has
among the vivid
breakable flowers,
the way Abraham has
among the boulders,
his two feet heavy
as stones.

2. NEAR SINAI

God’s hand here
is the size of a tiny cloud,
and the wordless tablets
he holds out
curve like the temple doors.
Moses, reaching up
must see on their empty surface
laws chiseled in his mind
by the persistent wind
of the desert, by wind
in the bulrushes.

3. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

We know
by the halos
that circle these heads
like rings around planets
that the small donkey
has carried his burden
away from the thunder
of the Old Testament
into the lightning
of the New.

4. AT THE ARMENIAN TILE SHOP

Under the bright glazes
Esau watches Jacob,
Cain watches Abel.
With the same heavy eyes
the tilemaker’s Arab assistant
watches me,
all of us wondering
why for every pair
there is just one
blessing.
—Linda Pastan