ENTHUSIASM, PART I: MOSES
There’s that other story
almost everybody knows, the one
where God tells Moses
he’s been picked to go
and deliver ultimatums
about slaves and freedom
to the Pharaoh.
Moses, less than enthusiastic:
not me, I’m not keen to be
a messenger, I can’t even
speak without a stutter.
God says: take your
brother with you, let him
do all the talking.
Summits with magicians,
all the ordinary threats
plagues and developments
that one expects
in conferences like this
Finally they manage
to get out of there, even
though they have to walk
across a Sea to do it.
Finally, it’s over. Moses
has fulfilled his mission,
is looking forward to vacation.
He steps out of the crowd
and climbs a mountain,
ready for reward, hoping
for an airlift back to Eden.
At the summit there’s
a bush, on fire but not
burning, and the Voice
tells Moses to remove his
shoes. Moses does not
hesitate, he’s had enough
of missions and of walking.
He says: They’re down
there, Lord, the lot of them.
I’ve done just as you asked,
I went and got them, led
your children out of Egypt.
(And, by the way, nice timing
on that parting of the Sea.)
All done. You’re welcome.
And the Lord says: Moses,
you’re still on assignment,
I’m not finished with you
ENTHUSIASM, PART II: GREEN MILE
In the dream, I’m tired, filthy, caked with sweat-
salt, sea-salt, sand. My robe sticks to me like a reeking
second skin. God, you know how long a road it’s been.
I am so ready for a bath, a nap, a hidden garden safe
behind some wall, a night that needs no sentries, carries
only singing, bullfrogs, owls and whippoorwills,
a sleep that settles on me gently like a breath
of honeysuckle, a sleep that wraps me soft within
its petals for the night, a sleep that lasts.
Yes, I see the mountain, God. I even smell the smoke
that’s curling up from those unburnable green
leaves. Since we both know you’re also down here
in this dusty, rocky gully I will not be climbing
up there for a chat (although if it pleases, note I am
already barefoot), ready to revere and transfer
power, hand over to anyone who’s willing: all my
responsibilities, walking-stick and tablets
of commandments. I’m so glad it’s finally over. I am
ready, ready, ready for a rest. And the Lord says:
you may not be thrilled to hear this, but you’re
still on assignment.
I’m not finished with you
ENTHUSIASM, PART III: INTO THE GAME
This is mine, my dream, my vision,
mine to change, so I move us from
the ancient Middle East back to
the living room, get down
the dictionary of etymology
God is with me, hanging out
at three AM. We’re far beyond formality
and ceremony now. I find the word
I’m looking for, I point,
He reads aloud:
Enthusiasm. It means “the God within.”
It means, I say, if You insist I must
keep going, then You’re coming with me.
Thanks but no this time on some other
companion, no home health care person
and no prophet Aaron.
If You want this done, You’ll have
to come with me, You’re going to have
to wear me. Get some skin into the game.
–Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), with gratitude for another unexpected year