Marriage of the Prophet
by Paul David Adkins

Hosea 1:2

So many people, every bit of a nation, had sinned.
But it wasn’t Hosea’s job as a prophet
to stop them.  He just had to marry a whore
and suffer publicly as she stepped out on him.
He just had to watch his children grow
     into worthless weeds: their fruit a stink,
their leaves of choking fingers.  But in the temple
as a boy, what a little man he was:
     his little tie, his parted hair,
his Bible in his hand.  Everyone knew
he would surely be a pillar of the town.
His pious wife would be the obvious choice
for organist.  But now at forty,
with Gomer laughing somewhere with a lover,
     he realized serving God was not platitudes
or preaching.  It was not rubbing his forehead
over the Torah late into the night.  It was
loving a woman stumbling drunk at dawn,
shouting, “Let me in!”  It was
tenderly wiping vomit from her
slack and aging face.

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