Little Stranger Cakes

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, "My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on — since you have come to your servant." So they said, "Do as you have said." And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes." Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" And he said, "There, in the tent." Then one said, "I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son." - Genesis 18:1-10

When making little cakes for surprise visitors
as your obligatory hospitality, it is best not to kneed them too much
pat and coat them with some olive oil and if you have it
a dusting of crushed rosemary and fresh cracked pepper

then throw them in the beehive oven and let them brown
and crisp and rise slightly and then fall back like breathing
get your wooden paddle and slide it under to fetch them
put them on your pottery plate and serve hot with fresh salted cheese

as the three guests at your table take a bite and chew and smile
and you take the small one for yourself and listen to their wayfarer’s tale
right then you’ll know why numinous foreigners came your way tonight
why their words sound like holy mysteries plucked from behind the stars

when they leave you with their astonishing message and wander
down the ancient road to some other hopeless souls like you
who thought all that was left was decrepit aging and death, wash up
go to bed, give thanks for obligations and wild strange angels and every birth to come


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