The Telegraph

The ship crept north
Across the bay
Like a shark
Nosing toward the stone house
To collect the Heretic.

But for what?
To be exiled to the Sahara?
Cast into the sea?
Crucified upon the city gates?

Pacing alone in the courtyard, praying
Not to save Himself but for the highest good,
The Heretic was calm, resolute,
Steadfast as a rock,
As all around Him
Loved ones convulsed with grief.

Six and some decades gone
Since that May night when He was born
And also since that very day
In the world of things
The telegraph came on
Pregnant with all that it would bring.
In Baltimore it clattered away
A verse from Numbers
Morse had sought
From the Court Supreme:
“What hath God wrought?”
What indeed, or Whom?

The sun sets on that shark
And still it comes
Its lights now the eyeshine
Of a bloodthirsty wolf
It comes.
The wolf, rhythmically licking its lips
As the waves lap against the bow
It comes. It comes.

And then, what’s this?
A sharp tack to the west
And away it steams
Never again to stalk the prophets’ nest.

For in mid-sail it had received
A message from another court:
Young Turks had sacked their tyrant lord.
Now the commission had greater worries
Than a Thoughtcriminal
In a godforsaken backwater.

And what had brought this news
And spared the Heretic
A sadistic martyrdom?
But of course–
The telegraph.

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