by Dale Champlin
See how his lovely long body drapes
over her motherly thighs…the way
her so much younger still-virginal face
gazes down on her blameless man-child
with such tenderness
as she remembers
how she received the heavenly spirit
the thrill of quickening…
and months later how the sweet infant
suckled her breast.
She ponders the soon-to-be burial…
her son a fish roasting over a crackling fire
to be shared with the multitudes…this is my body
broken for you…into another and another mouth
an infinite universe of mouths.
As she looks down suffering does she imagine
his stilled heart glowing with the will of god—
radiating splinters of celestial light—
tightly bound with thorns,
and is it her strong desire
that he should rise to outlast death?
She gazes without keening—dry-eyed
reaches down to smooth the wound
so like a gill-slit beneath his nipple’s eye
between the emaciated ribs starved
by the spiritual famine of the world—
and ponders how each human of that world
has a soul in jeopardy. She laments
the marvelous delicate skin polished
to its marmoreal finish stretched tissue thin
over the delicate skeletal bones
of his even now sensual flesh.