To make a crown of thorns,
you must first tear the roses away.
The King is crowned with their stiff, green bodies
withering to brittle, bone, and dust after they
have been seized and stolen from the ground.
Before returning to dust, they stiffened into rigor mortis,
frozen in a circle as they entwine with each other,
thorns jutting out and radiating from an empty center.
The thorns were meant to ward off
fingers, paws, and teeth away: but instead,
they bury unwittingly into the skin of this young man’s
temples and forehead. Draw blood against your will,
and make both of your murderers sing with glee,
braying scorn into the palms above your head,
up past the stone rooftop heads rising above this city
and gazing out into the surrounding desert with empty,
window eyes. The King drags a ragged robe behind Him
down the street, past the bodies of the blooms
torn, cast aside, and left to die. And die they will,
along with this King,
along with the crown of comrades biting themselves
into His brow.
Somewhere in an apartment above the street,
an urn falls and breaks.
The roses inside tumble to the floor and
lie helpless and unsettled among the shards of the body
that used to hold them. Their scent
still floats around them in an unseen aura
and levitates upward, touching the stone ceiling above
their heads. Below them on the street, the torn rose blooms
also waft their final songs up to a clean, vacant, and cloudless sky.
And the King walks past the dying rose blooms
to become a broken urn Himself. Groaning and struggling
underneath a wooden cross, He feels
the clay of his body already beginning to crack. Through each fissure,
the scent of roses slips surreptitiously out
and intertwines with the other fragrances calling up
from the window and the street.
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for NaPoWriMo and for We Write Poems Prompt #51: Pairings. We were asked to pair two opposite things in our poems: given that this past weekend was Easter weekend, I chose the theme of life/death and roses/thorns. I hope you enjoyed the poem.