Autumn Newman

Cleave
by Autumn Newman

And Abraham took the wood for the offering and put it on Isaac, his son, and he took in his hand

the fire and the cleaver and the two of them went up together.

To adhere firmly and closely, or loyally and unwaveringly: to cleave.

To divide by, or as if by, a cutting blow, to split: to cleave.

Words we don’t understand built our story before it happened. Stories—

Slapped on in the stickiness of childhood—cleave

The personal and the mythological, inseparable like ink in skin. I ask them to explain

Your thumbprints in the hollow of my throat. Violence cleaves

Two people—before it breaks them apart—because stories have made violence natural.

Heavy and ridiculous—like the fuel for Isaac’s pyre placed on his own back—you cleave

Relentlessly to me, and I respond predictably. So when your knuckles break my teeth

You don’t need to say anything. As if on cue, my horns are stuck in the bushes, my

kicking hooves cloven.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 1.

Autumn Newman

Autumn Newman is an alumni of The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast creative writing MFA program and teaches English composition and creative writing at The College of San Mateo.

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