Brothers by Jessica Covil

You have told me
I am the source of my own shame
that your ancestor and mine
were brothers
but mine did the unspeakable;
brought down his father’s curse
and now, I am still feeling it.
Ham’s skin
black as his sin,
isn’t that what you told me?
Japheth meaning fair
meaning white
—meaning just, right?
just right
all right
all white
You have grown and
spread yourself out
just like God intended, hmm?
And I am servant of servants to you
as it was written.
This is what you told me,
punctuating the li(n)e
with the crack of a whip
laying the stress on thick with cowhide
in Jesus’ name, amen.
Thumbscrews to drill it in.
But you got the Bible all wrong
and me with it.
See, we are Cain and Abel
—brothers ourselves.

And there are crosses in fields
where God is nowhere to be seen
where you have taken your own brother
and murdered him.

How does it feel to be the problem?
the reason this land is cursed,
the grounds for my leaving.
Not my shame
never my sin,
just your hatred
after all I have given.
Let me return to my God,
for He is surely far away from here.