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You’d Better Run

Prone was never the way
I pictured Isaac, proving
yet again: of altars, I am all
but ignorant. Of course
he was tied with the soft
side up, simpler to cut
with that which makes
us human. Take this bird
outside of the luncheonette,
the one with the kettle-
fried chip in her beak.
She’s unable to break it
small enough to eat, and so
is blessed in her own way,
lacking the nerve or
knowhow to hunt what’s
hard. Me, I favor gruffness.
I like military haircuts.
I like the inscrutability of
sandbars and of box bombs,
of Bob Dylan, quoting God
when God says, “Kill me
a son.” Me, I am always
grappling against the press
of my back to the earth,
but prone was never
the way I pictured Isaac,
because prone just isn’t how
it’s done: gallows or stake,
when we die for faith,
we stand. Although, come
to think of it, Isaac wasn’t
slated for martyrdom;
“senseless” is the word
I’m searching for.

 Natalie Shapero is a Chicago-based poet. This article appeared in the March 15, 2012 edition of the magazine.