What kind of a racket is being a prophet
anyway? said Jonah's brother,
who worked at the fish market.
It isn't a racket, Jonah said:
I have heard the voice of God.

What, a hand in the clouds? A voice in the distance?
his brother said; it's a trick of the light.
Jonah shook his head.
You'll never get married, his brother answered,
and turned away, arranging entrails on a slab.

Jonah never married. His face grew thin and sallow
And his bones jutted. His robes were stained
And his skin was often mottled black and blue:

the pronouncements of the jealous God
are not eternally met with penance.
His hair began greying.
sin and ye shall burn.

His brother's children were pink and haddock-faced.
You know, Jonah, it's not too late to marry, and spend your old age with a young beauty,
his brother said.
Jonah walked away.

Sin and be forgotten,
Sin and be always alone.

God spoke:
Bid Nineveh to return, for I miss her and her children.
Speak to them of My benevolent word.
Speak to the pregnant women, and the new children, and the expecting fathers,
and tell them of My ways, the high ways, the kind ways:

Jonah's throat was crowded with words of rebuke;
his fingers were accustomed to pointing,
dispensing the anger of his God.
What did he know of wisdom, kindness, mercy?

And so he ran.