One bloody hand clasped a knife and the other dragged a goat. The blood trickled to meet the crest of the hill, feeding the soil with the sacrifice to God’s green earth. He was everywhere; in the grasses that swayed in the unassuming breeze, in the clouds that shaped to echo his stern face, in Isaac’s father’s eyes, in the gutted goat. They cook this beast up for dinner, a goat conjured from nothing more than God’s will and Father’s devotion. How lucky in faith is one to be given such a gift? Father sliced the meat from the carcass, a pastor with his tome. Isaac sat amongst his siblings as Father began to pray. Father never closed his eyes. Isaac stared back. “God’s generosity is vast and unyielding,” Father said looking down at his dirt-ladened son. “We are all blessed to be under his watchful eye.” The rope marks on Isaac’s wrists burned, but he ate the goat until God’s face mixed into the fat and he heard the goat bleat. The father’s age betrayed him, the son so young and agile, his body made for the heavy lifting of beasts in a marketplace. And yet Father tied him to the stone with the same vigor of a man in his prime. The bony flesh beneath the robes, a knee in the back, the calloused hands. You are my greatest gift, a grace from God. And it is for God that I must sacrifice you. The chew of the meat stretched on Isaac’s teeth, the bleeding gums scraping the rock, still sore and tender. Tender meat of the child. Would Father have mourned him if the angel hadn’t shouted? Would the goat have remained on the outskirts, imposed by God and then abandoned? Would the lamb have been slaughtered either way?
After Genesis 22
by Leah Skay