When my father bound me, I submitted,
closed my eyes to the lifted knife in his fist.
Even now, the cords still hold my wrists,
rough ropes of love. My chest is bare,
my heart lies open. He loves his god more
than me. I open my eyes, watch my father
raise his fist against a bright and bitter
sky, no angel there to stay his hand.
From Prodigal: Variations (Lethe Press, 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Ed Madden. Used with the permission of the poet.
Ed Madden was raised in Newport, Arkansas. He received a BA in English and French from Harding University, a BS in Biblical Studies from the Institute for Christian Studies, an MA in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in literature from the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent collections include Ark (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016), Nest (Salmon Poetry, 2014), and Prodigal: Variations (Lethe Press, 2011). He is a professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches Irish literature and creative writing. In 2019, he was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Madden currently serves as the poet laureate of Columbia, South Carolina.
Date Published: 2011-03-31
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/sacrifice