Refuse to Bend

Pulled from the muddy depths, by sobbing and grief-maddened cries.

Thousands weep on the banks. Pressed to the waters edge, tears falling into the reflection of the watching moon.

I blow in and through them like a wind.

I go in amongst them all, the loud and the shaking, the collapsed and the silent.

I see in them what I’ve been called for.

I seek the mind responsible and find it asleep.
Riding the wind to his side I paint his dreams. His river, red under my shadow, every cistern, barrel and water trough filled with blood as I pass.

He cries out, waking in sweat and gasping, he gulps from the chalice, realizing too late his dream was real.

Every night after, I’m in his dreams. I make my request and show what I’ll bring if he refuses.

Each night he curses me and dares me come.

In his flesh he is the same as the others. He has no relief from the frogs, the lice torment him til he tears out his beard, and the flies that swarm and bite him cause scabs that crack and ooze whenever he moves.

Yet there is something else in him. Something hard and sharp that does not allow him to give in.

I kill his livestock, destroy his crops with hail, bury his city in sandstorms.

His people come for him as a mob. Hiding his children, he goes to face the crowd.
They see him and falter. None move against him. They plead with him and leave. But his actions have betrayed him, showing me my answer.

That night I let him sleep.

At dawn, I lay the cold body of his firstborn upon him.

Inside him

a noise like a sword