Liber Jonae CAPUT TWO Page BETH


A lengthy, heated exchange then ensued
Which, I regret, I must decline to repeat,
Not because I cannot now remember
Nor, God knows, for lack of space and time.
No, I will not rehearse the words exchanged
Because even my own degraded taste
Found this crude and blasphemous invective,
Although entertaining enough,
Truly offensive, cruel beyond the pale.
Eventually doors slammed and silence fell,
And darkness fell and the night slowly passed,
Until dawn at last curled rosy fist
And began with sunlight to punch the face
Of each sleeper with an eastern exposure.
Armand arose, left without breakfast,
Without the slightest slice of toasted bread,
And departed for his workplace downtown.
Craven retreat, Marguerite called out,
Strategic withdrawal, responded Armand,
Doing his best not to slink as he let
His scornful wife possess the battlefield.
During this strife I'd been left to sit,
Still nested in festive-coloured paper,
To survey this dismal situation
Into which misadventure had dropped me.

The suite of rooms was quite sparsely furnished,
But this was not the minimalist's sparse,
The tasteful and fine design kind of sparse.
No, this was the sparse of a salt desert,
A place that the Godhead had scoured with fires
And left devoid of spirit, bereft of life.
Where were the cockroaches, the silverfish?
A potted tropical plant was nearby,
A tree or vine that I couldn't identify
Or, indeed, easily categorize
With my built-in standard taxonomies,
Beyond the fact that it appeared to be dead.
And despite my botannical shortcomings,
The cause was well within my expertise
In the lessons that nature imparts to man:
Here was yet another victim of God,
A recent object of a powerful wrath
Delivered here with surgical precision.
It was not fungus, not rust, not mites,
Not aphids, loggers, or spruce bud worm
That the Lord sent against this, his creature.
A desert had sprung up inside the pot,
So that any organic life trapped there,
Rather than flourish, must perish of a thirst.
The plant had been hit by a withering drought
That had robbed potting soil of all moisture.
And this I knew to be a favourite trick,
Well-documented in literature
Devoted to God's periodic plagues.

And next to the plant was a large armchair.
This too had suffered the Godhead's wrath,
As witness the cushions, the upholstery.
Directly across the room from this chair
Was a pre-colour television set,
And this device was also the object
Of the particularly nasty curses
That heaven reserves for selected targets.
The glass goldfish bowl was cursed of God,
And the fish itself, on which I kept my eye,
Floated belly up in the stagnance there.
It was evidently the victim of curse.
The sofa was cursed, coffee table cursed,
Wallpaper cursed, the very air was cursed.
This apartment was a barren wasteland,
Cursed wall to wall, cursed bottom to top,
Cursed from worn carpet to flaking ceiling.
Turn on the taps and dark curse spits out.
Open the drapes and bright curse floods in.
This is not a place where any being
Should have lingered, let alone reside alone,
Wrapped in curse-saturated bedclothes.

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