Hardly anyone has dreams like mine. ‘Son,

Answer me,’ my father said, ‘did your really see a tree

That ran from heaven into the place under earth where crying

Spirits wait to rise again, revived by lamb-blood?’

We sat together in our tent eating figs from the garden.

Eventually, I set him straight, cleansing my palate with wine.

‘Actually, it was more than that, Father.

The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.’ A thorn

Ached in the sole of my foot. My father’s face was cold,

‘Never tell this to your brothers. They’ll have your skin,

Darling boy. If you would live, keep your silence.’

Smiling, I rose and refilled his ram-horn cup.

Hardy as I was at seventeen, I almost didn’t live

Until the full strength of manhood. Marked for death,

Despised by my brothers, they sunk me into the well like a stone.

Desert traders happened by, heard my frail cries to God.

Extracted, they marked me for sale. One tomb

Released me, another gaped, but at least this one offered bread.

Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope has published several collections of poetry: A Radiance (Cultured Llama, 2012) Crown of Thorns, (Oneiros Books, 2013), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press 2014), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing, 2014). Her first novel, Masque, shall be published by Seren in 2016.


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