balaam and the beast

he flinches and bows as
the stick lands on his
neck again and again
out of the corner of his
good eye he sees the angel of the
lord gesturing sadly toward the
setting sun if god had endowed
him with the gift of speech he’d
say i thought maybe one day
day i’d carry the messiah
himself then his legs buckle
beneath him and he collapses
and dies on the
side of the

(Number 22:21-30)

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