Photo Credit: Athens National Museum Thera Fresco


The God who has given you the world
of the vine and scent of the arbor
loves you for your righteousness
and passion: you are the woman
he would choose if he were corporeal.
But me he has fitted for ashes and the potsherd,
and I amuse him with a conscience
that fits like a spiked shirt.
A wanderer, lost and athirst,
I come to your gates and sit
outside them, a stranger to your world
and to your orchards, an object
of pity.  But when you see the ashes
smeared upon my face and in my hair,
you laugh at the sight of a man
who should know better, and whose body
betrays his secret youth at the sight
and thought of you.  You raise me,
press your mouth to mine, lead me
to a stream to cleanse myself
of the dust of a hundred deserts,
and, unashamed, will not turn your back.
At night when, cleansed, I love inside you,
you cry out God's secret name

Kenneth T. Wolman

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