Abraham

by Jeffrey Essmann

In the salt marshes of Ur you first heard the voice,
though not yet a voice, nor a whisper:
Something wordless and soft,
like the rattle of cattails,
the sigh of papyrus,
it soughed in your ear,
your inner ear,
like a desert breath,
and suddenly 
the whole world
went off 
balance.

And something said:
“Move.”

“Go.”

Something said:
“Elsewhere.”

And if someone had asked
(though no one asked),
“Who is this god?”
you would have said,
“I do not know his name,
but he smells of mud flats
and salt and…”
(though no one asked)
“no other gods attend him.”

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America MagazineDappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewU.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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