Herod’s Impotent Hands
by Christine Adams Beckett
Frantic, chaotic existence
For one interminable instant:
A pseudo-Egyptian woman
Brave, effusive and artistic
Stowed a score of unquestioning clean slates
Into her Coptic kiln room.
Shots rang out as an Elizabeth,
With a close-grown copse of Johns
Found a split mountain,
A bathroom with tiny toilets
Barricaded from the outside
With feathery volumes of
Pat the Bunny,
Tom Sawyer and
The Diary of Anne Frank.
Waiting for silence,
Rows of innocents in an
Evacuation conga line,
Eyes squeezed shut, still shedding tears,
Found their Egypt in a New England fire house,
And Love everlasting in far-reaching arms
Without creed: a mourning, heart-strong
World on the verge of a great shift.
King Herrod lay dead
While the martyrs remain perfectly preserved
In a spiritual idea.
Unchanging from year to year,
Their steadfast awe and heavenly connection
Will live forever in the inverted refraction
On our retinas that perceive Perfection.