Cain Departs for Nod
Randel McCraw Helms

Cain Departs for Nod

Fleeing east before the great Jehovah’s
Wrath, fratricide Cain left Eden’s borders
Sullenly, exiled as the first to fling
A question back into the angry talking sky:
“Leash-master am I, then, to that brother?”

A question left unanswered still by Justice,
Who carved instead a warning sign onto
The quivering flesh of the challenger:
Touch me not, for I am cursed of God and
Fugitive, vagrant and lost amid alien thorns.

Equivocal gift, like all else from this most true
Impartiality: I who slew must not be slain,
Though I and mine will never rest again.

You and I, you and I, my father Cain.

Randel McCraw Helms

is retired from Arizona State University’s English department, where he taught classes on the Bible as literature and the Romantic poets. He is the author of five books of literary criticism and has recently contributed to Dappled Things, Whale Road Review, Blood & Bourbon, and other journals.