Huldah Prophesies – a poem by Julie L. Moore

Huldah Prophesies (a Premature but Peaceful Death for the Beloved King of Judah)
            ~II Kings 22:14–20 & II Chronicles 34: 22-28
 
My name is nothing to brag about—
its origin akin to vermin, 
weasel or mole—imagine naming
your daughter that!—though I do dig 
beneath the meanings of things. 
 
Messengers and priests visit me often
here in the Mishneh, the new quarter
where business booms and the western wall 
rises. I’ve grown accustomed to their nagging 
questions, their desire to hear from on high
arduous answers. And today, four men—
               Hilkiah, the high priest, 
               Shaphan, the scribe, 
               Asaiah, the king’s servant,
               Ahikam, and Akbor—
like horses in the future apocalypse— 
came to me (not my cousin
Jeremiah), the wife of the royal 
wardrobe’s keeper, I, who sift serial facts 
from fictional chaff, who can offer  
mercy for the king who’s just discovered
his nation’s sins. 
                                 What can I say?  
Amid my lesson to the young 
women in my house, the men galloped in,
breathless, their voices braying, 
brows caked with dust and the sweat 
of urgency. They’d found a book
buried beneath precious metal 
hidden in the temple. I tell you 
it doesn’t get any better than this. 
And I was the one who knew 
whether it was the word of G-d.
 
I sent the women home, 
then took a look. 
                                 Sh'ma Yisrael,
yes, listen, my tongue intoned, 
eyeing these men who studied Hebrew texts 

 
incomplete until today. They were obeying
orders, pulverizing idols, repairing the breaches 
of the temple, the couplings and roof-beams 
desecrated, when they found the terrifying treasure.
 
Tell this man, I said, for I knew Josiah was
created from clay like me. Mine was the voice 
of Yahweh that rose above the masculine crowd. 
I sometimes didn’t recognize its commanding 
pitch and tenor, its throaty insistence on decrees
and divinations. No one could keep it
down. 
               Tell him the nation will fall. 
 
Eleh haDevarim, these are His words. Curses! 
Curses. You and I will see it all 
before we die. The men’s necks
tightened, their mouths filled with speech-
less fear. An owl on the roof howled. 
I who am chosen of Adonai
to speak these hard truths
took one necessary breath.
Then, beyond anyone’s imagination,
came the rest.
 
 

A Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s 2018 Book of the Year Award. She has also had poetry appear in African American ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. Moore is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University in Indiana, where she is the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.

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