The Answer

How long has it been?
How many years of the laying of hands and slitting throats
tossing blood against the altar
the firstfruit and the firstborn
Burnt, grain, peace, sin, guilt- were there more?
How many bulls, sheep, goats, turtledoves, pigeons
Lambs, innocent and whole, without blemish
Broken, and bleeding.
One was never enough.

How long has it been?
Forty-four days, years, decades
What an unlucky number!
Forty-four days of death and dying
No: more than that.
Forty-four days of realizing we were already dead
How many broken cisterns, failed attempts, and dirty rags?
They were never enough.

We demanded a king, a conqueror
One who would break the bow of bronze,
Hear our cries, and tear the yokes from our backs
A great tempest tearing rocks from the mountain
or the shaking of the ground and consuming tongues of fire
We stood at the mouth of the cave and waited.  Days.  Years.  Centuries.
But the LORD was not in the wind, not in the quake, not in the flame.
Not on a horse, but on a donkey
with a whisper.

Father, forgive them.