The Book of Voices

Biblical Microfictions by Joseph Zitt


(Context: Genesis 7:10)

Reaching out, reaching high into the night to touch the sky, to touch your stars, I fall again to earth. Here, in the mud, the dust, the ash, I cry, cry out your name. Nothing echoes, here on this sodden plain that we once knew as desert. My voice fades into emptiness, heard only, if at all, by this angel and by the moon.

Each ray of light cast through the dark brush here paints shadows of your form, spells with images of branches the letters of your name. I close my eyes and see in my internal sky the grace of your dance, hear within whispers of wind the streams of your song, feel in the tracings of the rain your hands as you once touched my face, my tears as I heard you leave, the waters as they swept away what I dreamed would be our home.

But when my eyes open, all I see are bones, bones upon bones.

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February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Wife of Cain

(Context: Genesis 4:17)

I slide down from atop the man, feeling the damp earth for the first time, remembering how it will feel when I feel it again. The man and I are also damp, damp with sweat. I remember that his name is Cain. He is breathing heavily, eyes now open, smelling the way that I remember that men who sweat will smell.

After a while, his breathing slows. He turns his head to look at me. “Who are you?” he asks.

“I am your wife.”

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February 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


(Context: Exodus 3:4)

I am standing in the desert.

I am standing in the desert,
and a bush is burning before me.

A bush is burning,
and it is not consumed.

It is not consumed,
as smoke is rising from it.

It is not consumed,
as a voice is rising from it.

A voice is rising from it,
and it is calling out my name.

It is calling “MOSES”.

It is calling “Moses”
and I am afraid.

But then, more gently,
it is calling my other name.

It is calling my other name
that no one else knows.

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February 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pharaoh (of the Exodus)

(Context: Exodus 1:12)

I am Pharaoh, ruler of all Egypt and god to all the world. Let all the world hear me: I am Pharaoh. I am known to all by many names, some shouted, some more powerfully whispered. But the only one that need survive, the only one that matters, is this: I am Pharaoh, as my father was Pharaoh and his father before him. We are all one god in this succession of bodies. This body may be destroyed, may be lost, or may be laid to sleep beside its ancestors in the grand tomb that my people are building in gratitude, in praise. But the god-king Pharaoh can never die, as this land, this people, this Egypt can never die.

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February 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments