Excerpts > Summer 2002

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Two poems

Sarai Gives Hagar the Egyptian to Abram

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
--Gen. 16:1

I need a child so please make me one dear
sacrafice. Hold the sheep by his cleaved hooves,
slit the throat and watch the blood rain down loud.
Cut a foreskin, pray there is God in the deed.
I am a seed dried from the inside out.
I am a hull cracked open in the sand.
Waiting for Someone's kiss on His way up
yonder, waiting for knowing in my bones.
Don't know why my house keeps getting passed by.
Don't know why my Lord won't touch me holy.
Laugh out loud at visions born every night,
cry each day at my arms waking empty.
Give me something. Give me a sacrifice.
Why won't just one angel come on by here?

Hagar's Night With Abram

Only God knows how I feel
this night when I'm locked
together with the man.
God of Eve,
God of daughters with no names,
God of mother's sons driven away,
God of handmaids passed around
like stew in a bowl,
God knows I wish I could be
ready and beloved.
One name spoken from holy lips,
a splinter of heaven and a Yes my Lord yes.
I wish I could give gratitude right now,
this night, before I become lowered
eyes and covered head again,
borrowed linen and wine and skin.

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