Isaiah breaks off a spiky limb
of the aloe vera plant
growing in his backyard.
He splits open the thick spine,
scoops out the sticky flesh
and rubs it gently across his charred lips.
Charcoal dust the shade of
the smoke-filled sky colors the corners
of his mouth into a permanent O Adonai.
Isaiah rubs aloe over his eyes
to soften the vision of the six-winged
seraphim that haunts him.
He brushes feathers out of his beard.
Renewed, he prepares himself
to prophesy, again and again.
Valerie Sopher is grateful to Canary, Caustic Frolic, Slant Poetry, Orchard Street Press (Finalist, Quiet Diamonds Poetry Contest 2022), Science Write Now and Wingless Dreamer (contest winner), among others, for publishing her work and to the Ina Coolbrith Circle Annual Poetry Contest for honors bestowed. Her first chapbook, Day for Night, published by Orchard Street Press, is forthcoming. She is a singing quilter who loves anything to do with paper, pens and words. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.