12-29 The Crown on the Skull

The Crown on the Skull


What kind of God? Carlos, four is a pharaoh mummy

wrapped in a hospital sheet, trampled by Leukemia’s horde.

Widow Mary, today sixty-five, is bludgeoned, defiled.

Her hand-stitched quilt is blood-splotched.

Darker days to come.


What kind of God?

Pounding, pounding, the worn mallet

drives iron spikes flesh deep, wood deeper.

Nails mark hideous symmetry.

Cross wood for crossbones, the rack

is raised against grisly clouds.

His mouth, a dried gourd, is bitter

from manwood’s venom.

Fly legions, biting ants, rupturing tissues,

sun fever. Finish it! At midafternoon,

the smoldering wick goes out; a last

wisp of smoke vanishes in bloodshot skies.

Manwood’s shadow wears a darkened hood,

draping the place of the skull,

and if it were possible,

the bones of memory.


What kind of God? Two days pass.

Dawn’s golden sash flutters from red-tipped borders.

First Breath breathes. Light awakes,

rises from the mouth of the pit and blazes

through shadows inside every tomb.


Spring unveils duck egg blue skies,

rising green blades, honeysuckle breezes,

cottontails bobbing over clover swells,

and forever Easter shine:

constellation-dappled crowns for

the Carloses and Marys of the world.