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,

Peace ever-elusive,

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.