Leah: My Right Eye

Leah: My Right Eye
Elliott batTzedek

Once traders came through, and there was a boy
I giggled about with my sister
telling her how it would feel
to kiss him and what our children would look like
should I follow him to the fields with his goats in the spring.

My father walking past happened to hear.
First he grabbed me and then he grabbed
his camel prod, and drug me to the altar
and beat me there. With all his gods watching
he beat me and made me swear two times
to each god that I would never again
speak of any man in that way
or think of any man in that way
and in front of the Mother of the gods he made me vow
that I would never again ask for anything
but sons from the man chosen to be my husband—
his sister Rebekah’s oldest son, who would
one day come to claim me.
Break this vow and you will die, he said.
Ask for anything but this
and you will surely die.

The beating and my pleading went on for hours,
my father, left hand on my throat, holding my face
to his gods and me trying to watch him
to know when the next blow was coming.

After that night, my right eye
wandered off on its own
no matter where I tried to look.

I was thirteen.


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