My God, my God, what queer corner am I in?
Didn't I die, blood running down the post,
lungs gagging for air, die there for the sin
of anyone, my sour mouth giving up the ghost?
Surely my body is done? Surely I died?
And yet, I know, I'm here.
What place is this?
Cold and queer, I sting with life.
Yes, I lied.
Or else in some damned cowardice
my body would not give me up.
fine cloth with my hand and my cheeks are cold.
If this is hell, then hell could not be much,
neither as special or as ugly as I was told.
What's that I hear, snuffling and pawing its way
toward me? Its tongue knocks a pebble out of place
as it slides in, a sovereign.
How can I pray>
It is panting; it is an odor with a face
like the skin of a donkey.
It laps my sores.
It is hurt, I think, as a I touch its little head.
I have forgiven murderers and whores
and now must wait like old Jonah, not dead
nor alive, stroking a clumsy animal.
His teeth test me; he waits like a good cook,
knowing his own ground.
I forgive him that,
as I forgave my Judas the money he took.
Now I hold his soft red sore to my lips
as his brothers crowd in, hairy angels who take
My ankles are a flute.
I lose hips
For three days, for love's sake,
I bless this other death.
Oh, not in air --
Under the rotting veins of its roots,
under the markets, under the sheep bed where
the hill is food, under the slippery fruits
of the vineyard, I go.
Unto the bellies and jaws
of rats I commit my prophecy and fear.
Far below The Cross, I correct its flaws.
We have kept the miracle.
I will not be here.
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