On the fourth night, Samson woke to remember he had no hair and had no eyes. He had dreamed of angels plaiting his locks into seven cords that reached a golden city and brought it crashing down. In his dark dungeon, he felt the coolness of stone against his back and remembered how once he lifted a wall too heavy for lifting. How once he killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. How once he slew a lion with his bare hands. How once he lived among a swarm of bees. Through a high window, songbirds told him it was morning and with his hand he felt for the line between sunlight and shadow. Through the wall, he heard the city roiling, preparing for festival and feast. Soon enough they would make him dance and sing and parade his weakness before them. He tasted sweetness on the air, dates and honey, and thought of his mother’s riddles. What creatures clasp arrows? Sparrows. Who wanders in the eaves? Thieves. What makes the leaf lame? Flame. He touched his scalp and felt spiky new growth, like grass after harvest. He would let them come for him when ready. He would welcome them. He would tear them in two.
Stephen Tuttle’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He teaches courses in creative writing and American literature at Brigham Young University.
ART: “Proof is the bottom line for anyone” by Silas Plum
SILAS PLUM spends his days in the woods of Northern Virginia. He believes strongly in the tired old maxim that the true value of an object is more than the sum of its parts, that the gut is a truth-teller, and that the Aristotelian notion of learning-by-doing is the best teacher around. Judge his worth at silasplum.com.