To each nation will God send a prophet,
And each one gets the kind it needs most.
To Christendom he dispatches one kind,
To Jews another kind altogether,
To Islam, still another kind again.
Each nation, though pagan wogs they seem,
Gets not just prophet, but also books,
If literacy rates are high enough.
Each nation gets prophecy in its tongue,
A Godhead it readily understands,
A prophet fashioned to make his word heard.
And yet, if you correct idiolects back,
You always get one that look like me.
Each gets, unasked for, its own Jonah,
Its own one God, its own holy book.
Even apes, even aphids get one.
And even the human coronavirus,
The strain that gave Nimrod a headcold
On the day he laid your town's foundations,
Will get its coded strip of nucleic rage,
Its stiff, stern non-negotiable demands.

And what could Godhead say to a virus?

Their prophet told them, go and multiply,
Go and grow and stuff this head with phlegm.
Confuse brain tissues with thick stickiness,
So that some neurons fire, some jam,
And some go on and off, on and off,
So that the key, that one labelled nine,
The ninth key on the mental numberpad,
Shall stick down and output repeatedly
And superimpose pattern onto sight.
And that's the problem prophets often face,
The fact that though they do Godhead's work,
They won't always reap the benefit.
Mankanaka didn't learn this truth
Until the swarms hit the Egyptian crops
And found themselves one plague among many,
Promoting some foreign business plan.

So what happened to Mankanaka, bird?

He sat on a golf course, on the ninth green,
When a lawnmower came near, too near,
And sheared off his left and rearmost leg.
Mankanaka, in shock, and then delight,
Observed the stump ooze a green grass sap.
Look, he cried, what this diet has done!
And then, in joy, commenced the leaping dance
That all creation, indeed, came to watch.
He danced, his swarm danced, the whole world danced,
Up and down, knocking over cities
And casting down every mountain range.
And God, annoyed, said to Mankanaka,
What's the meaning of this damage you do?
Look, he replied, what my diet has done,
And showed Godhead his green-dripping stump.
But God revolved, so that his prophet saw
God too lacked his left rearmost limb.
And God shook abdomen and from that stump
There came neither blood nor the sap of grass.
God shook thorax, shook wings, shook and danced.
From that wound came what looked like snow.
Out swirled powder. Out fluttered white ash.
That, said God, is what diet can do.

Did you tell, parrot, your followers that?

I imparted only what must be done
To make a raw locust ready to eat.
Boil them four days, stirring once or twice.
You'll need strong detergent to wash them off
Because those fields over which they swarm,
The fig and olive orchards, the vineyards,
The acres of cornstalks and lettuce heads,
Are often sprayed with some insecticide
That harms no insect but blights all else.
Better yet, peel off the outer skin,
Soak steaks overnight in alcohol,
And eat less than seven ounces per week.

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