An Axe (1973)

An Axe

by Marc Mangel


What did he feel

a balding old man

past the age of grandfather

staring down at his only son


lying on a block

ready to be sliced like



Did he cringe?

Retch in vomit of blood to come?

Did he wish to

slice his faith instead

of his son?


His son?

Did he understand at nine

the test of five thousand

years of growing?

Could he imagine that he was the

crucial meeting of space and time

to be recorded forever?

Did he see his father’s eyes?

See the tears and feel the regret?

What did he know?


When it came

and the test was over

the lesson learned

When they clutched like lovers

separated by an instant of


and the axe buried

the handle turned to black dots

in the sky

When that test was over

what did they feel?


May 1973

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