The Tin Gods by Syl Cheney-Coker

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Watching the tombs tonight

the desert raises its shadow the desert

sees the caravan along its own arm:

playing this game of words the desert fights

over each word the sound of the noun

the ink on the scribe’s page forgetting

the trail taken by the twin mules;

the desert’s path is like two vessels

from a fountain consecrated by God

because the man who cried at the wailing wall

is brother of the man driven out of Palestine

prelude to an oasis of blood, I write

these lines against the book they quote

to silence the voice from the minaret.

I write thinking of those who say at daggers drawn

to talk to the diplomats gives fresh baptism

to the music of Wagner

blood flows from the Litani

blood flows in Elait, in Sidon.

where the white dove is strangled in its flight

and where the wandering Bedouin in search of his brother

the Jew is corralled because already the tin gods

drink the blood of the vineyard before the ripe harvest!

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