I am in the habit of remembering Jesus’ victory over the cross each Friday morning, “Good” Friday. A sublime hymn, “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul?” captures the point of this greatest paradox: God on a Roman cross.




Nathanael exclaimed, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

            —John 1:46


And he said unto them, “but who say you that I am?”

—Mark 8:29


Peasant woodworker, after John dunked you, your vision quest

lured you into wilderness. Sawdust propped your memories;

pot shards filled your stomach. Wild eyes gleamed in moonlight.

A specter sat behind you in a cleft between boulders.


On the path into Galilee, a dove, talons uncoiled,

hovered and shadowed as you toiled on.

Your words rattled some, inflamed many,

and your hands plumbed warped spines


until the last night. In the garden

the dove’s talons kissed your cheek.


Men stretched and nailed You, an animal hide for tanning,

to crossbeams you hewed and planed years ago.

Dogs licked your twitching toes. The specter

smirked as you evaporated into bloodshot haze.


“It is finished.”


.           .


As sun bubbles burst on the Sea of Galilee,

chilly wavelets washed your toes.

you inhaled damp gusts. They saw you

and anchored for your feast on shore.


Then you vanished into cobalt skies.