Nails pin thin, battered feet
to fractured wood. Affixed to earth,
neither He nor the wood can rise up
and walk. He is a nailed up, gasping, bleeding sentinel
watching the sun’s single eye burn:
but Death walks around Him, trailing a mantle of clouds
behind her that will occlude the sun and shut its eyes
A Circus Maximus, slow death procession,
parades around and circumnavigates Him. The
mockers, the jeerers, the scorners. The
red-caped centurions, armor and helmets
proudly glistening with the sun’s fire. The
mourners: two veiled women, battered with grief
and wailing elegies until they float above the sun;
and a young man, thin and pale like Passover bread
before it is broken and spent.
All are blind to Death’s march:
she leads them while she is translucent to the sun
her cloak and train of clouds still a far distance off.
The ache, the agony,
the breath being pulled out of his lungs
like ribbons by an unseen hand: they all draw
her cloak and train closer to fly over this spot. All
weave her raiment thread by thread: eli, eli,
lama sabachthani. Another thread: Son,behold
your mother. Woman, behold your son. And the final pass
of the weaver’s loom: it is finished.
The cloak, mantle, and train are complete. Death stands
on the hill, her proud, ghastly, and shadowy garments
unfurled to the sky. Behind her, the sun
turns away his face with sorrow. And somewhere, a temple curtain
rents itself like so many outer garments.
Sack cloth on the sun: ashes on the earth’s face
as fire consumes a life and leaves
the flakes of its passion at the foot of a wooden cross.
If you ask the man later about the fire, He might tell you
that He only felt ice crawling up His limbs and veins
as the world and the heavens receded. But not
right now: you won’t find Him. He has shed His mantle, and
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.