Underground Pool: The Feast of Abraham

By Angelique Benrahou '14 (Illustration)

I
One thousand beige finger marks
Spread peanut butter walls
Cucumber-colored tiles
Lumbering wooden doors and
Scratched metal bullets
Coke-bottle windows.
A shrill bird’s cry,
Feathers rattling against a cage.
Not letting me pet its lizard feet.
Sheepskin rug, head still attached,
Date-tree cabinets
Thin blue-smoke couches.
A sanctuary at the back of the room
Where I slept upon the floor
And sun-warmed hallways
With a squatting toilet
That I was scared would swallow me up.
Lazy city din, old men and old cars burning gas.
Children running, their language foreign,
Like my tongue in my throat.
Power cords like black snakes
A cow’s moo in one of the living rooms downstairs.
No one would believe me that it was a cow, not a goat,
Like the nativity,
Sitting in a bed of hay.
I played with little butter-cream chicks that day,
Pecking at my feet, feathers rising in anger.
I ran away from those evil chicks, fluffed with hatred.
The honeycomb stairs, the steps so steep and dark.
I pushed open the heavy door, heavy like the Burning Gates.

II
Green tiles go black
Whitewalls
Gray world spinning.
Except for the blood.
From the swinging lamb,
Dinner.
The red pomegranate rivulets,
Wetly beating upon the tiles.
Secretly I was pleased,
For this lamb had been a burden and a beast,
Tied up in front of the bathroom,
The bleating haunting my American dreams.
I was joyful for its death, in the wrong way.
Like when I danced on 9/11,
For school was cancelled,
But I did not know why.

III
A picture now hangs in the living room
Right above the hand-sewn pillows
Threaded designs like gold veins
A new sheepskin rug in another room.
On the mantelpiece,
A framed picture of my uncle,
Holding the torn head of a lamb by an ear,
Blood dripping down his forearm
Thick like chilled-honey.
Smiling and using his fingers to
Push back the lips of the lamb,
To make it grin too,
Eyes open like glass buttons,
But the light in them is gone.