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
Benjamin Bagocius, PhD, MFA, thanks you for reading his poem! Ben writes and teaches broadly across literature, spirituality, and feminist and queer thought. His writing appears in a range of venues, including Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Tiferet, and The Other Journal. His first book of poetry, The Canaanite Woman, was published in 2022, and his second book of poetry, The Gospel According to B., is slated to appear in 2024. Ben loves contemporary Icelandic and Finnish literature, and is currently studying both languages. Reach out and learn more on his website.

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