I stop before the sacrifice, before Abraham raises the knife,
before he binds his child and lays him on the altar.

I stop before their three-day walk up the mountain, before Isaac

asks the obvious, innocent question. Before

the evasive “God will provide,” even before the command

itself is spoken—a test, a murder as a token. I stop

and put down the book with all its heaviness.

Then, I rise and walk into the woods,

grow quiet and listen. And the only God I can

imagine would never require even

the ram. I stop at the beginning,

at Abraham’s words—
Here I am.