Drought, she said, has drawn off lightning strikes
And thus spared golfers otherwise doomed.
The charts and maps, if done with proper care,
If bad luck is properly factored out
And armed robbery properly redefined
As symptomatic of diseased proteins,
If scale is shrunk and printer fonts reduced,
Will show that justice, month to month, improves.
The Inquisition will do all it can
To keep Nineveh's street safe from crime,
Short of going out to make arrests.
Nineveh, it's true, has some rough precincts,
Some slums and some decayed urban core
That time will soon renew or gentrify
But which, meanwhile, even cops avoid.
All of this city, by all that's holy,
Should long ago have met its final fate.
Nineveh, Marguerite, should be destroyed.
Yet it still stands, still does business,
And still swarms with its wicked multitudes.
Ninevites vibrate in hexagonal cells,
Buzz along passageways, dance and hum,
Alive to sing the sting of number nine
In honeycombed chambers dripping with wealth.
How does evil achieve such reward?
This angers some and puzzles others.
Why God spares this hive isn't clear
To those who don't know the way he thinks.
Like dogs who loll out their tongues and pant
Whether you drive them off or call them back,
They're too dim to guess their master's intent
And too portly in fact to rise to feet.
The uninitiated can't perceive
The reasons why heaven has sheltered sin
And let select guilty go unpunished
While many among djinnkind and men
Are fated for a hell, predestined for pits
For such minor infractions as stock fraud,
Tax evasion, bigamy, manslaughter,
And sodomizing young crocodiles
Before a cheering, chanting crowd of drunks.
They'll never know why charges are dropped
Or what deals are made behind closed doors.
Those less gifted never understand
The special plea bargains that chosen get,
The strange immunities, dispensations,
And offers given for witness protection.
But mystics like myself know what's up.
The cost benefit equations at work
Discount current against future gains
To yield the greatest justice over time.
So Ninevites get special handling?
It's a sweetheart deal for Ninevites.
It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense,
That this heedless people need not heed,
That all they need do is to testify,
To bear witness against their very genes,
And thereby rat out the human race.
Nonetheless, it's fated. The fix is in.
The Lord God will save their DNA
And raise up samples as Exhibit A
On that day, at last, he retaliates.
I don't understand, said Marguerite.
Your holy scriptures grant us guidance here.
It's been foretold that on the Judgment Day
That God will need to call the Ninevites,
Along with others, such as Sheba's Queen,
To testify against the unrepentant.
What prophecy rashly commits to page
Becomes law even God must obey;
It's why the oracles choose words with care,
For the Lord so loves the letter itself
He loses meaning, lets go of depths
And hears only that first splash of sound.
He doesn't wonder what loved ones mean
Or look for unstated expectations
Or hidden agendas or boldfaced lies.
There's no point getting clever with God.
He won't weasel out interpetations
That let the harsh, literal truth loosen
And soften into a vague, ambiguous mud.
He speaks clearly the precise word needed
So that even algae understands,
Even protozoa, even tubers.
He runs this universe by the book,
And this is why he spares the Ninevites.
And just as God is bound, so too all.
Nineveh's compelled, borne along by fate,
To hear the Lord's insisted point of view,
Hear it, understand it, recite it back.
Liber Jonae Contents