David Dances.

Death looms on one side, barrenness on the other, and between them, in that steep narrow place, David leaps, twirls, shimmies wild-limbed on the air.

He is close to 40. Maybe his wound-haunted flesh—trained for war, hardened through exile-dwelling, borderland skirmishes, and Saul-dodging—has in these later years softened. He doesn't have to get his bread by begging or brigandage anymore. He doesn't have to bully the neighbors, hide in caves, fake insanity. He's lord of the land. He's king. Years of wiliness and austerity and hardship have given way to a long season of prosperity, luxury, ease.

And maybe his body feels it. Maybe on cold mornings his limbs have a stiffness like wood splints on the joints, and his tough supple body gathers a heaviness, a fleshy sediment: the wound of idleness and indulgence.

But today he dances, near naked, with all his might, undignified.

He did this once before, months ago, and a man died. It was Uzzah, a priest. As David danced, there ...

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