For Lent, the rule was no sweets, and fish
on Fridays; less music on the radio, less TV,
less rowdiness and laughing in general (but one
could giggle behind one’s hands if necessary).
And on Holy Thursday we went to church to see
a row of unshod men seated before the altar,
waiting for the priest to wash and dry and oil
their feet: the plumber, the carpenter, the banker,
the fire chief, the kanto boy, the grandfather.
On Good Friday flagellants paraded down
the streets, vermillion stripes growing across
their backs, rude thorns circling their brows.
And in the evening we visited six or seven
churches, tiers of votive candles keeping vigil.
In the middle of the aisle, statue of the body
crucified, laid prone on a cloth of blood-red
velvet. After all these years, this is what I
remember most: the cold, pale arch of the foot,
the painted-on wound on painted flesh which,
bending, we were meant so reverently to kiss.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Bel Canto
- In the Summer Capital
- The Hourglass
- Frost has silvered the grass
- Fragment of a Poem Disguised as SPAM
- Clear bulb of coral inside a paper shade,
- Private: Translucent in the sun, the laurel is a blaze of gloss—
- Kissing the Wound
- Fire Report
- Dear animal of my deepest need, you want to linger
- Ghazal, a la Cucaracha
- Heartache Ghazal
- Ghazal: Some ways to live
- What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
- A single falling note above
- La Caminata
- Dear nearly weightless day,
- Ghazal of the 1 o’clock caller looking for Pomona
- Breaking the Curse
- Milflores, Milflores
- Bad Script
- Ghazal of the Eternal Return
- Letter to the Underneath
- Tall Ships
- Beneath one layer, another and
- Landscape, with Summer Bonfires
- Dear language, most thick