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Jonathan of the tribe of Benjamin,

the Name does not care where your bed is made

or with whom.

In the high places, you lie

next to your father, your faces equal-empty,

eyes scooped and sealed.

Below, David rages back and forth

across the plains. You cannot see him, or he you.

You lie with your hand on your father's hilt,

his sword buried deep in your belly. You lie

together in last embrace, under

the sun's judging eye.

Michal is weeping, in her bridal suite.

David is weeping, on the plain below—sweat

dapples his face, and tears, and blood.

His mouth is hot, lips twisted painful;

his teeth grind.

Above, your lips cool, opening to admit the breeze,

the flies. The Name's kiss, His dread brazen voice

telling you: You have chosen the wrong king

between two kings, the wrong

love, between two loves.

No shame in your heart, even as it slows. So

was it another sting of guilt that spurred you to this,

for loving one not of your blood

better than your own blood's instigator?

(Yet all things come not from Saul but Him,

who made Saul,

in the end.

And forgetting this, not doing the other,

has been your only true mistake.)

Jonathan of Benjamin's tribe, the Name

has never cared where your bed was made,

or with whom—not once, not ever.

Until now.




Former film critic and teacher turned award-winning horror writer Gemma Files is best known for her Hexslinger Series, now collected in omnibus form (ChiZine Publications). She has also published two collections of short fiction and two chapbooks of poetry. Her next book is We Will All Go Down Together: A Novel in Stories About the Five-Family Coven (also from CZP). Her website is here.
Current Issue
20 Jan 2020

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