I remember your eyes
When you saw me in Pharaoh's harem
And you saw, oh only you saw
You saw that I was sister and wife
As you were destined to be.
I remember your compassion
As you hid me that night
Guarding Pharaoh from my bed with your seductions
Until sleep took him with punishing dreams.
And I remember the blood on your dress
When Pharaoh's soldiers deposited you the next morning broken at my
And then I remember your body, whole again, years later
A child-woman, long and delicate
As you crept into my tent in darkness
Sat by my bed, stroked my greying hair
Your eyes bright as you spoke of your love for Abraham
Of your longing for a child.
Mother of many nations from your young body
My daughter, my sister
When I sent you to the desert
When pain overtook love
When fear overtook desire
Even your eyes
Could not cry enough water for your child.
And as I cursed in my tent my helplessness in my rage
Even Abraham's occasional aged caresses
Could not make me feel less alone without you.
My sister, my daughter
Eyes dark as cinnamon
Fragrant as burning incense
Will you love my husband when I am gone?
(Keturah, whom Abraham marries after Sarah dies, is understood by some
commentators to be Hagar. She is called Keturah-incense- because of her
inner and outer beauty. The story of Sarah in Pharaoh's house is in
Genesis 12. The story of Sarah and Hagar is in Genesis 16 and 21.)