Salome Listens to Yeshua

by Benjamin Bagocius

Piano keyboard over a wooden floor

Salome said, Who are you, mister? You have climbed on my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone. Yeshua said to her, I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was given from the things of my father.”
— The Gospel of Thomas (transl. Marvin Meyer)

Yeshua saw at parties
that I was polite,

that I feigned interest
in most men’s revelations about God
which sounded to me like elevator music.

And when such well-intentioned orators
paused for my applause
to their one-fingered piano playing
of God, I managed a smile and nod
before rising from my seat or leaving the room.
My mother needs help with the washing tonight,

so I sadly must get going.

So when Yeshua sat down beside me and spoke
the brutal, banging Rachmaninoff of God,
tender and painful at once,

I stayed to listen
to the mad pianissimo
he knew, too.

I scooted over on my bench to make room for him.

Amidst the party hum of voices and clinking glasses,
Yeshua watched me play the arrangements I had composed.
He asked if I would teach them to him.
So I did.

Benjamin Bagocius (he, him, his) writes and teaches broadly across literature and spirituality. His writing appears or is forthcoming in a range of venues, including On Being, Tiferet, The Other Journal, Pensive, Soul-Lit, Dark Moon Lilith, Rat’s Ass Review, After the Pause, and others. A member of the literature faculty at Bard High School Early College in Cleveland, Ohio, Ben holds a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University, an M.F.A. in creative writing from The New School, and a B.A. in English from Kenyon College. In addition to teaching courses on hope and healing for Bard students, Ben facilitates Soul Salon, an online spiritual writing-and-conversation workshop. Join us!

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