The Book of Voices

Biblical Microfictions by Joseph Zitt


(Context: Genesis 8:21)

First, for a timeless moment, there was nothing. Then, sometime within that moment, I began. I cannot tell whether I immediately knew that I existed, or whether I gradually became aware that I was there. But at some point I began, and time began, and this world began, and I found my spirit drifting over the face of darkness within darkness. And while the darkness had its beauty, I knew that it could be better. I let there be light. And it was good.

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May 25, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


(Context: Genesis 38:1)

These colors flash and melt before me. When my eyes are closed, they form shards of taunting brightness, too brilliant to allow me to sleep. When my eyes are open, the colors stain my view, distorting all that I see. These are the shades of betrayal, of guilt: the blue of distant sky and ocean water; the gold glare of the scalding sun reflected by the signet of a king; the green of the smears of grass on linen, on the robes of a father kneeling, crying in a field; and, smearing and mocking all the other hues, the visceral crimson of lambs’ and humans’ blood.

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May 18, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


(Context: Daniel 3:19 )

Seven times hotter than mortals’ fire. And thus the roaring metal melts, collapses, drowns. Seven times hotter than mortals’ fire. And thus our human flesh should be turning to ashes, to gases, to a burst of absence where lives had been.

We should be afraid but are not afraid, we three who are falling into the furnace at this giant golden idol’s core. As we had walked here, proud in our resistance, arm in arm up the long, high ramp to the idol’s mouth, we sang out King David’s song, the one that Daniel had taught us. Where we should have seen this barren plain of dust, we saw green pastures; where we should have felt this inhuman heat, we felt cool breezes, the breath of spring across the still waters of rivers that we had never seen. As our captors tied us up, we looked into their eyes and whispered: “May the Lord give you peace.” As they pulled the hoods over our eyes, we returned to King David’s song, repeating over and over “Lo ira ra. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil.” Continue reading

May 12, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments


(Context: 2 Kings 8:10)

This prophet is weeping. He has told me joyous news, the news that I want to hear. But this prophet is weeping.

I have come here, to this tent at the edge of our city, to greet the prophet, to bring him gifts and get his blessing. But the gifts that I have been forced to bring are what is left of my legacy, the riches that were not destroyed or taken as personal booty by those who captured my father’s kingdom, who took me as a child and left me without a family, without a family name. They call me Hazael, son of Nobody. And no one dares even whisper to me my family’s original name.

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May 3, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments