Poetry by Holly Day

The Death

Jesus Christ walked out into a world of poetry poverty depravity

martyrs muggers mothers and The Bomb, holding His healing Hands

out to the quietly pious stretched out on the racks of the Spanish Inquisition,

the walking starving dead of 16th century Ireland and 20th century Auschwitz,

the silently-suffering Cherokee and Creek losing blood en route to disease-ridden reservations

the children of the Bikini Island nuclear tests, the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

the AIDS-infected drug addicts dismissed and forgotten

in the streets of Los Angeles and New York.

And when He left, it was not pierced through to a wooden cross, arms flayed wide

to lure carrion, it was tied to a post set in a bed of lit faggots,

the crowd screaming not “Set Barabas free!” but “Burn the heretic!”

as a private confident and lover looked on, arms folded on chest, face set as stone.

And when He left, it was not at the torches of lunatic French patriots, but of a wasting disease

in the middle of the ocean

in the cabin of an abandoned plague ship, His only comfort

sea gulls offering gobbets of raw fish and olives from far-away shores.

And when He left, it was not en route to Java or Australia, but roped between

four crazed and blinded horses, whipped into a frenzy and pushed stumbling

down the side of a steep hill.

And when He left, it was not by being drawn and quartered in the highlands of Scotland

for the amusement of the English Royal family, but in searing holy agony

on the streets of Japan, the last child pushed safely into a crudely- constructed fallout shelter

before the twins hit the ground and the lightning goes up.

And when He left, it was not huddled beneath the falling timbers of the American consulate,

but of an accidental overdose maliciously prescribed.

And when He left, it was not sitting on the toilet of His Tennessee mansion,

stomach cramping, eyes blurring, but blindfolded and alone

before a CIA-sponsored firing squad, convicted

of teaching school children how to read both Spanish and English texts.

And when He leaves, it will not be lying comfortably in bed, reading a James Michener novel;

it will be at the hands of a NeoNazi vigilante, a boy in a uniform

fighting for his country, an antiabortion activist with a pipe bomb,

a confident doctor with good intentions,

a soused truck driver on his way home from work.

He will not go quietly into that final night,

but with as much doubt and pain and fear

as any one of us, forgetting each previous walk with man

upon rebirth, holding tenaciously at death to the belief and the promise

that He will come back again to us, and again, and again, and again.

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