Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

How Samson Became Strong

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

How Samson Became Strong

Article excerpt

1

My mother saw angels. They crowded the room. They were not, she told me, pink or sweet or anywhere soft, but the way lightning would be if it had a body. I stood by her bed

while she pointed out figures, told me they danced red as a flame and if I moved, my skin would burn. The angels would flare the hot-coal blister marks my mother lifted up her nightgown to show me,

pressing my hand to her belly where the wounds were mouths, wet and open, against her skin. You have to listen to them, she'd say, or this is what it's like. We listened.

2

Years later Delilah asks about strength. In her room the black wraps like blankets around our bodies. There is no candle. When I was a boy with hair, uncut,

curling down my back like a girl's, or tied in a knot the other boys would grab when they forced me to the dirt and one kicked my face over and over so I woke

in a puddle of vomit and three teeth, I learned, "My mother says it's what the angels want," is not something you can say. …

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