Guest Post: Excerpt from “The Faith of the Ocean,” by Arwen Taylor

As we join the story, Jonah has earned free passage onto a ship to Tarshish by means of winning a camel race; instead of taking his winnings and purchasing a ticket to Nineveh, he instead takes the free trip, upon which the voice of God leaves him.

The first three days on the way to Tarshish were beautiful. The sun played in a sky ornamented with the most delicate of cirrus clouds, and the water was a fortune in blues, purples, and greens, shot with gold where the light tumbled into it. Zabah lounged on the starboard deck, in a chair which he had specially constructed to recline and fold back up, sipped olive wine, and composed chiastic poetry to his favorite harlot back in Midian. The Amalekite who had come in third sat in his cabin sulking because he had lost to a crazy Israelite. Jonah paced the deck, distracted, usually in the way of the ship’s crew. Fortunately Zabah, with the very best of intentions, had inquired about a bit as to whether the Israelite camel champion might not be a bit insane, and so word was had around the ship that he was crazy.

When Jonah had said to get off, it appeared that the voice had taken him at his word, and stayed behind in Joppa. €œI’m sorry, € he growled into the silence. €œLook, as soon as I get to Tarshish, I swear, I won’t even race, I’ll turn right back around, I’ll swim to Nineveh if I have to. € His head stayed quiet.

€œI don’t know, € Zabah told the sailors. €œI’ve heard some strange things about the interior of Judaea. But still, he’s a phenomenal camel racer. €

€œI know, I didn’t even win that race, you won that race, I’m sorry! €

€œYou’re no better than Abiezer, € a voice in his head told him, but it was only his own mind. He didn’t know how he knew the difference. His own thoughts were oranger, somehow. The other thoughts came in darker, and blue.                    

€œThere may be something in the water there, € Zabah had said. €œBut he’s a good-looking kid. €

€œDamn nutty Israelites, € the Amalekite said.

€œI’ll go to Nineveh right now, just give me a way! € Jonah shouted to the ceiling of his cabin on the night of the third day, and promptly fell asleep.

The storm came up from nowhere. Zabah was nearly thrown off his chair by the wind and the Amalekite spilled ink on the angry epistle he was writing to the camel-racing commission. The ship rose high on a sudden swell of water. The rain came slamming down on deck like wheat dumped from a sack. Sailors swarmed and bounded from all corners to tie down the sails and bail water off the side. Zabah, in a hurried retreat below deck, chair in hand, heard them crying every man to his god, and went to find Jonah.

€œHey Jonah, € he said. €œSleepy boy. Jonah! €

Jonah woke with a start. €œWhat? I won’t go to Tarshish! €

Zabah took his shoulder and shook him a little. €œIs it your god you’re always talking to? €

€œWhat? €

€œYou talk all the time, to no one. Are you talking to your god? €

Jonah shook his head. €œGod doesn’t talk back, € he said sadly. €œI didn’t go to Nineveh. €

Zabah took a step back. €œYour god is angry with you? €

€œMy God has left me, € Jonah said. €œOr I left him. €

€œWell, I think he’s back, € Zabah said.

Jonah took in the violent tossing of the room for the first time. €œThere’s a storm? €

€œYou might say that. €

A sailor burst into the room. €œYou! € He launched an accusing finger at Jonah. €œWho are you? €

€œJonah son of Amittai, € Jonah said. €œI am a camel racer. € He shook his head. €œNo, I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Hebrew God, who made the earth and the sea. €

€œYou’re fleeing the god that made the earth and sea, € Zabah pointed out.

€œYou’re fleeing your God? You’re bringing us to destruction! € the sailor shouted. €œWe cast lots, and it fell on you! Come on deck, both of you. € He wrapped a burly hand around Jonah’s wrist, lest he try to resist.

€œHow could the lot fall on me if I wasn’t there to draw one? €

The sailor shrugged. €œThat Amalekite camel racer stood in for you. €

€œConvenient, € Jonah muttered.

€œMy will may be done even through an unreliable man of Amalek, € the voice said.

Arwen Taylor’s €œThe Faith of the Ocean € appears in its entirely as part of Plain and Precious Parts of the Fob Bible ( or as part of   the complete Fob Bible (


Guest Post: “Creation,” by Danny Nelson

The sun’s ten fingers came unfurled.
He gathered struts and made a world.
With careful breath the sphere was blown:
a hollow ball of molten stone.
And with the glass-sharp stars in thrall,
he spun the geodesic ball.

The moon stretched out her oyster hand
and on the struts she lifted land.
In mercury streams the valleys bled:
the mountain shook its hoary head.
She set the rain in silver sheets
upon the ocean’s stormy streets.

The sun shook out his golden beard
and with its heat the land was seared.
The gold-gray ash, ‘neath greening rain,
bristled up in heads of grain.
The trees grew up at his approach,
and closed their gowns with emerald brooch.

The moon unbound her swelling womb
and scattered the world with ruby bloom.
She shrouded its eyes with birds in flight
and veiled its face with silky night.
Then balanced the sphere on a silver scale
and lined the seas with fishes’ mail.

Then the sun and the moon
set the world in a swoon
and clothed it in meadow and wood.

And with bashful glance
began to dance

. . . and called it good.


Danny Nelson’s €œCreation € appears in Plain and Precious Parts of the Fob Bible ( and in the complete Fob Bible ( Nelson studies literature at the University of Washington where he has developed an interest in the many ways of spelling phoenix.

Guest Post: Excerpt from “Blood-Red Fruit,” by Danny Nelson and Eric W. Jepson

Satan and the snake had watched each other for a long time before either spoke. It was mid-morning €”it was always mid-morning €”and the breeze was pleasant and warm in the thick tangles of shining dark leaves. The snake, a long purple shadow, was hanging in negligent coils from a branch of the tree hanging with blue-spotted white flowers and dark red fruit. Her large head rested on her casually muscled form and she watched Satan, who was sitting on a rock in a dusty clearing, rubbing his shoulders where his large black wings sprung, grimacing from time to time and keeping a close eye on the snake. Continue reading “Guest Post: Excerpt from “Blood-Red Fruit,” by Danny Nelson and Eric W. Jepson”

Guest Post: “Sustain-Abel,” by Danny Nelson

Sing the song of Cain and Abel:
Cain grew grain.
While Abel
brought flesh to the table.
Their lifestyles underscore the fable:
Cain could maintain grain.
But Abel
took food unsustainable.

Then Abel, Cain murdict.
And what is the verdict €”

jealousy, heroism,
or the first eco-terrorism?


Danny Nelson’s €œSustain-Abel € appears in The Fob Bible ( but is making its online debut here at the Wilderness Interface Zone. Nelson studies literature at the University of Washington where he is something of an expert on the more fantastical works of E.M. Forster.