Setting Zipporah Free
Nancy White
Nancy White Page 1

Between us we made one pious bride,
then dutiful wife. On and on, this execution,
and his wealth made it bearable to sit or stroll
commendably. I didn't think about the burden,
not until the army came, till the elders said
In five days we surrender. Who were they
to give away our grain, the children

into slavery again? Of the six? Two
were suitors to my widowhood, their eyes
across the table flickering. Zipporah knew,
saw it rise in me. She says boredom had grown
choking, but I say anger snapped my filligreed
obedience. I called for the scarves and skirts
of my marriage, ones my "husband" liked.

Dance for me, he'd say. I felt a fool
swaying my hips, couldn't look him in the eye.
To untie me was the work of a minute,
his stuttering small white hands . . .
But when the chosen robes clung to me
and shimmered, I shamed no children,
only my village, which had abandoned us all.

Zipporah! How we combed and painted. My hair
glinting in the sun unbound, I said to the council
You know me by my name. Give me the five days.
Their gaze crawled after me, down to the enemy tents.
Zipporah knows the truth is we ran out of wine and still
he looked at me like a general. But he slept . . .
How easy it was - two swings of the blade, one

for the soft in him, asleep, and then the spine.
He hardly made a sound, even less