from “I Dream the Book of Jonah”

by Marilyn Nelson

 

Now his fingers found the melody

 

Well, I goes out in the desert

and I sits in the sun.

 

Hot enough to fry lizards!

 

Then somethin shoots out the sand

right beside me, like a geyser,

tall as a tree.

 

It was a tree.

I was catchin my breath and feelin the place in my neck

where the pulse is

when God’s voice says,

RELAX. ENJOY.

So I sit in the shade.

 

That night I dream about tellin my friends

how God made me a miracle

in Ninevah.

I wake up with a splittin headache,

layin right out in the sun,

The tree’s just a handful of ashes.

 

I jumps to my feet,

Hey, that was a wonderful tree!

I yells, talkin to heaven

and kickin the sand.

Who do you think you are?

 

Then a voice booms so close to me

it could a been inside my head.

WHO DO YOU THINK I AM? it says,

I MADE THE TREE, AND NINEVAH,

AND YOU.

WHO THE HELL YOU THINK

YOU TALKIN TO?

 

…oh, Jonah!

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