You are no longer the child

following your father’s proud back following the word made command

made to bring you to climb the high mountain beyond the fields of tall crops

where childhood’s bees droned their patriot hymns and gathered and gathered

their golden wealth. You are not the Beloved

anymore, you’re not even liked

by your wife or your kids, your own rat-faced dog. To hell with them.

Your bare chest was startling, a glory, a white corm turned on soil.

What did you think when he told you to close your eyes,

to press your fideistic heart to the sky’s greedy mouth? That it was union?

the exact opposite of a soul

being torn from itself.


These days angels are tardy, or clear dead,

nothing to stop you from joining the spent men in the bar draining out the day,

tightening the bolts on their bitterness, pulling the tabs on their cheap beers–

snap psshh–in your mind at each release the spidery bonds that hold

the night to day, god to the ram, you to god, break and you reel

off into the steep vault where graveled stars gouge your bare feet.

Your children watch you limp


and dodge your wild wild talk of knives.

You rave his hands big as spades that covered your whole face–

to this day no one can touch you there–finally your wife hauls you to bed

and you dream pale skin, the narrow dent between the ribs, a nipple rigid with fear,

dream the swift upswing of an arm, your arm, dream the blade,

the aim, mark, downward arc

and wake, and awake, turn too late.


–Arlitia Jones

Rembrandt's Abraham and Isaac

Rembrandt’s Abraham and Isaac

4 Comments on “You are not the Beloved

    • I know! Right? But you know what happens… I start to write the poem and the best idea for a play knocks me over. It’s never the right kind of floodwaters.


  1. Wow! I love the voice in this poem. It’s seething. So controlled and so full of bitterness!


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