Good Friday

Descending Theology: The Crucifixion

By Mary Karr

To be crucified is first to lie down

on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out

on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes

fix you into place.

Once the cross pops up and the pole stob

sinks vertically in an earth hole perhaps

at an awkward list, what then can you blame for hurt

but your own self’s burden?

You’re not the figurehead on a ship. You’re not

flying anywhere, and no one’s coming to hug you.

You hang like that, a sack of flesh with the hard

trinity of nails holding you into place.

Thus hung, your ribcage struggles up

to breathe until you suffocate, give up the ghost.

If God permits this, one wonders how

this twirling earth

manages to navigate the gravities and star tugs.

Or if some less than loving watcher

watches us scuttle across the boneyard greens

under which worms

seethe and the front jaws of beetles

eventually clasp toward the flesh of every beloved.

The man on the cross under massed thunderheads feels

his soul leak away,

then surge. Some windy authority lures him higher

till an unseen tear in the sky’s membrane is rent,

and he’s streaming light, snatched back, drawn close,

so all loneliness ends.

You can listen to it here, (Scroll down to March 7.) and buy Karr’s Sinners Welcome here.

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