Abigail Grows Brave by Julie L. Moore

Abigail Grows Brave

          After I Samuel 25

Years later, after David made love to her
and Chileab was born, after she was safe,
did Abigail still wake to the dog-
like face of Nabal, that Calebite mate
who reminded her time and again
of her place, for she was woman,
small compared to his great stock,
his barbaric body with rough hands,
his 3000 sheep and 1000 goats
amid limestone and laurel trees
dotting the lush hillside? Did her dreams
rehearse his churlish speech
inviting slaughter, claiming the chosen
one was nothing but a runaway
slave his bread and meat were not worth
sustaining? And in that subconscious state
where she desperately gathered yet again
loaves of bread and raisin cakes,
five dressed sheep and jugs of wine,
fig cakes and seahs of grain, to appease
the future king, did she sweat
like the husband himself, cry out for mercy?
She was never Nabal’s beloved.
He never cared what beat beneath her breast
or ran, keen and quick, through her mind.
Does such a wife, so well acquainted with pain,
grow brave? And whence did her wisdom
come that day she fell on her face before David,
saying Yahweh would make a house for him
that endures? Her prophecy a stone
she pulled from an unlikely pouch,
then slung with the power to slay all un-
anointed men in the way of the throne,
striking, and settling, first into the heart
of her narcissistic spouse.

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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 Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. Moore is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.

Editor’s Comment: Chileab, also known as Daniel, was the second son of David, King of Israel. He was David’s son with his third wife Abigail, widow of Nabal the Carmelite. Unlike the other of David’s three elder sons, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, Chileab is only named in the list of David’s sons and no further mention is made of him [Annotated from Wikipedia].

Image Credit: Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordier in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.