So I was avoiding revising my novel the other day by thinking of anything other than my novel ... like my miscarriages (I had two because of toxins in our water supply). And I remembered that in The Book of Job, God kills their ten children. So I wrote this poem from the point of view of Job's nameless wife.
He gave it all back twofold, so the story goes. Money, oxen, sheep. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away,” said he whose name is righteous in the books of men, those books that do not tell the names of the ten children the Lord took in vain. I escaped alone to tell you: Eli, the oldest, had dark grieving eyes, as if he saw his future falling down upon him; Rachel, my good girl, freckled and plain, a bustling little mother to the young ones; Rona, little bird, sang in perfect tune and pitch. Dvora, the queen bee, had eyes the color of honey and a wit that could sting. Baruch was slow and hid behind my legs when strangers came; Aaron and Lev, the rascal twins, spoke conspiracies with their eyes and smirked. Micah, wild and fleet, ran away from home three times. Now I wish he had run faster. And Zev - my last I thought; his hair was red and curled around his face like wisps of holy fire. My children
did not curse the Lord. That day they gathered together and, for the bread they were to eat, they blessed the very Lord who felled the roof that killed them.
I dug their graves and planted my children in the ground to grow like bitter herbs. Job sat in the ashes and called me foolish. Men came, scolded: “This is the way of his joy and out of the earth others shall grow.” As if that were enough. “Great men are not always wise,” I snapped.
Now Job’s lips speak the names of his rejoicing; Jemima, Keziah, Keren. Three other daughters burnish him like golden rings. Seven more sons raise roofs they think are safe. But in the shadow of my deaths I live blind to his faith; an eye does not replace an eye. Only ten plus ten, and every single one alive, would be enough for me. So I keep my place. I am two verses and a watchword in the good book of God’s deeds. Nameless as the dead, I stay and to his face I curse the god who took my children. He bet them like ten worthless coins, in a game of dare with the devil just to prove His mighty point.