11-26 Between Halves

This biblical reference, at the end of the poem, is worth looking up.

Between Halves


He severed a heifer, a ram, a goat in halves

and laid their carcasses apart in a dry gully.

But who was to walk between?

(When a covenant oath was broken,

such was the fate who broke it.)


At dusk deepest sleep struck him.

He breathed in darkness thick as dread.

From the depths, the Voice uttered a pledge.

A flaming torch singed his eyelids awake—

floating between the halves, scorching their flanks,

vanishing—red cinders glowing in moonless pitch.

The land was now his and his seed. *


He sat inhaling burnt fumes all night,

still as his stone pillow.

At sunrise ribs still smoldered

where the Voice blazed through.


            .           .          


I am cut in half: polarities, contradictions, paradoxes—

good or evil, light or death, heaven or hell, love or hate,

bind or loose, condemn or forgive, wide or narrow,

roads more, or less traveled—which?


Where my soul and spirit split,

I can only walk on ashes

as the Voice gives me light.


*Gen. 15:9-21.