Caleb A.P. Parker


After Abraham’s Offering, 1635 by Rembrandt 

Isaac, masked 
by the calloused hand 

forcing his head back, 
can sense little but 

the hand’s warmth, 
its pressure, its scent 

of figs or olives or flax— 
plus the blunt stab 

of firewood at his back. 
Perhaps a dry breeze, 

the sun’s warmth, 
the chirps of scrub 

warblers. His body looks 
relaxed: legs unbound 

yet folded in, 
chest, still 

packing baby fat, 
unflexed and slack. 

Is it the angel’s aura 
that calms him? 

Or is the smell 
of his father’s skin, 

even now, 

Caleb A.P. Parker is a poet and musician from the industrialized Gulf Coast of Texas. Raised by mystic Christian ministers, he went on to complete an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is currently spending a year in community at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.