Rahab: The Prostitute of Jericho

She turns her head and now it sits on her shoulder,

her hair plaited and course, hangs like the tail of a horse,

her eyes sparkle with light,

but heavy eyelids, like a candle snuffer,

try to put them out.

Lines etched in her face are ready to catch

any hazel, wax tears to spill from them.

She hears something,


She moves through the corridors she proudly owns,

the hem of her olive robes wiping the floor.

She sucks in air, the air is hers

and she holds it in.


They come to her day and night,

sweaty and soiled, she lets them rest inside her,

while they whisper lust in her ear,

she pretends to listen.

Sometimes they are violent;

One pinned down her arms and legs,

and she struggled beneath him, like a fish.

She felt the blow of his fist, knuckles imprinting her cheek.

Then hot and prickly tears rose in her throat,

like her feet across the desert in the midday heat,

But she pushed them down,

She would not let him break her.


These guests do not want to hide in her body,

and she hides them in the stalks of flax laid out on the roof,

Burying them under the fibre, which scratches their skin.

And when she lowers the scarlet cord for their escape,

She leaves it hanging in the window,

as red and raw as her passion and love,

To protect her family, to protect what is hers.

And that night, lying in bed alone,

she gets an unfamiliar taste in her mouth,

like earth and salt,

and freedom.