Wrestling the Angel Jacob thought he held a terrible bird-- the dark feathers, the claws at his throat, the constant calling, calling. Then he heard his thighbone snap, and the bird screaming in sympathy, its fingers suddenly stretched and pushed in the air. The bird groaned, "columbine" and a field of red flowers grew around them. Jacob reached towards the bird twisted in the dirt, bald and gleaming, and it whispered "chartreuse" and the sky swirled. Jacob knew he was in God's territory, and this was an angel; smaller than he imagined, its bones brittle as faith. The angel, trembling, smoothing its feathers, coughed "Israel" and suddenly the land was sacred, the wilderness, home. Jacob poked a stick at the angel's throat to make it speak, to see if he could make the earth crack. Jamie Wasserman Back to the Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks