Genesis Poems

Cain Discovers Infinity

One red rage roaring
boiling blood
a brother bleeding
one letter in the name of God losing ink
the earth swallows the ink
the bloods of countless storied untold

Creative Commons License
Cain Discovers Infinity by Virginia A. Spatz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Japheth and Son

“But I only want to cool off. It’s so hot,
Abba.”

“Cool your feet and splash your face.
That’s it. That’s our rule.”

“But why, Abba? Why can’t I?”

“I wish I could let you, but I just can’t.”

“Just up to my waist? I’m almost six!
I should be allowed.”

“No, you cannot go in the water.
We do not belong there.
Someday, maybe I’ll tell you
But now, go weed the beans.”

Creative Commons License
Japeth and Son by Virginia A. Spatz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Cain and Abel (Havel) are the two eldest of Adam and Eve.
See Genesis Chapter 4.

Japheth is Noah’s third son.
See Genesis Chapter 6, e.g.


These poems were written at the Institute for Contemporary Midrash Summer Training Institute under the direction of Alicia Ostriker. They were published in the sadly short-lived Living Text: the Journal of Contemporary Midrash (Number 6, Winter 1999).

This edition also carried a small selection from the then forthcoming translation — by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld — of Yehuda Amichai‘s Open Closed Open (Harcourt, 2000). This odd bit of synergy means, to my eternal delight, that my name is in the same book with the great poet!

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