Under the cold desert stars the prophet’s tics
waxed and waned with the unsettled moon.
Everything depends on where it began and so
between spells cruel men re-sharpen his sickle.
Listen. You may still hear his throat-clearing;
it is the stone’s incessant rasp on the blade.
And in stone those cruel men have written
his repetitive, involuntary utterances.
Was it his disease that left him seeing women
as threats? They walk veiled now, by his order.