Before my son was born I saw clusters
of stars and a chaos of lights, I saw
sandstorms and drowning clouds of dirt and dust
and I would wake with its grain in my throat,
would wake with my eyes on fire from the
firmament, the scorched glowing from the sky,
the knotted masses of planets and stars.
I took my family away from there
but the dream found me in every town
and in the crowd of every caravan;
as my son grew I retired from work
and spent sleepless, lazy nights with the moon,
my love of trade and travel drained away.
Once a man with a name and a blessing
and a word for everyone, I’d become
a dodder and a boor terrified of life,
of some last disaster that would swallow
us with sand or fire or overturning.
But when one morning Abram was packing
it burst upon me that each of those stars,
each forgetful crumb, fleck and speck of sand –
they all owned a number and had a name,
and that they were Abram’s children, not mine,
that I’ll live on, eclipsed and unaware.
Tim Miller‘s poetry and essays have appeared in Parabola, The Wisdom Daily, Jewish Literary Journal, Crannog, Southword, Londongrip, Poethead, and others across the US and UK. Two recent books include Bone Antler Stone (poetry, The High Window Press) and the long narrative poem To the House of the Sun (S4N Books).