by Alicia Ostriker

Page 8

Or rather, he was waiting for her to issue her challenge. That is what really happens. God does not know how to be just until the children demand it. Then he knows. After all, he is merely the laws of physics, the magnificent laws of physics, and then the adorable laws of biology. And then, like excitable microchips, the laws of conscience.

So she will need a large recompense because she will be asking: Where are my dead sons? What about the women executed as witches and whores? What of the beaten wives? What of the flogged slaves? Where are the souls who rose in smoke over Auschwitz? You teach me to say The wicked shall vanish like smoke, when all tyranny shall be removed from the earth, but it was innocent babies who vanished. She wants the unjustly slain to be alive and for singing and dance to come to the victims. Somewhere in her reptile brain she hopes the Lord will run the film backward, so that she can see, speedily in her time, the smoke coagulate and pour back down the chimneys, the stream of naked Jews and Gypsies walk backward out of the buildings.

We already know what she wants. She wants justice to rain down like waters. She wants adjustment, portion to portion, so that the machinery of the world will look seemly and move powerfully and scrape and scream. The children of God do not really say God is just. But they invent the idea. They chew it over and over, holding it up to the light this way and that. And though blood drips from the concept, staining their hands, they are persistent. It is their idea. They want justice to rain down like waters. Justice to rain like waters. Justice to rain. Justice to rain.

  previous page
table of contents
search the archives

  Titanic Operas Main Page
Copyright 1999 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney  <rnmooney@umd.edu>
Last updated on March 10, 2008
Dickinson Electronic Archives