When I dare to look,
they're still nose to nose,
my poor Abe quaking like a weed in a windstorm,
but firm in his nephew's cause,
and God, gone white as a thunderhead, but so far
not losing His temper the way He always did
down in Egypt, blazing away
at everything that moved.
Pretty soon He nods a bit,
like a camel trader who's just been outwitted,
and mutters, "All right, Abraham,
you find me fifty diamonds
in that dirt, and I'll back off."
He turns to go, and finally,
I can breathe again. But then
Abraham calls out,
"God! Yahweh! Listen! I'm a nothing,
I'm the dirt under your sandals,
I'm the ashes from your campfire,
I'm a pest, forgive me for asking,
I shouldn't mention it--but suppose,
just suppose I come up short by five, just five short,
what then, would you burn the place for five?"
God is a little quicker this time--
you know how it is, once you have
a deal cooking, things go easier--
and He says, gritting His teeth a little,
"All right, Abraham, Patriarch,
Father of My Nation, for forty-five
I'll save the slimy place."
But before I can relax,
Abe blurts out, not even pretending
to grovel, "How about forty?"
God comes right back,
and turns on His heel.