This Man Demands

Bernardo_Strozzi_-_Prophet_Elijah_and_the_Widow_of_Sarepta_-_WGA21919One meal remains, just one
To comfort us, my son and I.
I search the barren ground,
Aching for rain,
To find the fuel to bake
That last pathetic cake
For our memorial feast.

And, of course, he comes to me
Asserting hospitality’s demands.
Some water (in a drought, no less!):
All right, the well provides
(How long, I ask, how long?).
But then, another call
For bread, that he may eat.

I have no bread, demanding man.
I am a corpse too stupid to stop walking.
I have the makings of one meal
To bring brief comfort
To my son and I
Before the pangs of hunger
Take our lives.

What matter if I feed this man?
Our fate is written; we are bound for death.
So, I suspect, is he,
Fool foreigner demanding bread.
One meal alone I’ll share.
Perhaps he’ll linger long enough
To watch me die.

Hospitality demands.
Our straight poverty demands.
Time of drought demands.
Arrogance demands.
Death’s imminence demands.
This man demands.
This man’s God…
Gives.

Based on 1 Kings 17:8-16

 

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