Bombers Take Off From Golgotha, continued

Poems For Holy Week by Ken Woodley

AFTER THE BOMB
The wind exterminates annihilation,

checks its pulse with a dried leaf or two

and climbs a hill behind the barn.

The barbed wire doesn’t stop it.

The cows couldn’t chew it.

The wind plays the sound of crickets eating silence

and there is something else

along the wide black hearth,

tugging back at last syllables,

inventing the new language;

sheep will clothe themselves.

The wind stretches,

yawns and lifts a feather for examination,

blowing it against a sky

that cannot keep it.

The wind blows it north for the summer,

south for the winter,

looking for a season that fits.

The wind blows inside out,

climbs a mountain and falls off.

The hurricane bends everything to its knees.

FUTILE GESTURE
I

raise my hand

to keep the sun

out

of

my

eyes,

not realizing

that I am

waving good-bye.

THE CANNIBALS
There are no stars,

no moon,

just hearts beating in the darkness.

Somewhere

twigs snap underfoot.

Wild beasts scream their way

into human silence

and hide among the eaves, waiting.

The armies sit in darkness,

looking for some braille

to tell them this is just

a really black night.

Soldiers smell the enemy coming.

They feel the enemy touching,

the enemy panting,

muscles straining.

The heartbeats quicken

and sound like Morse code,

somebody sending signals

from behind enemy lines.

The arms of the enemy encase them.

The soldiers bite back.

The pain is wet and hot.

Their hearts suddenly sound

like a pantomime.

They taste their own body,

their own blood,

wondering whose skin it is

they’re wearing,

who they used to be.

THE SERPENT (For Judas)

I shed

my skin,

looking

for someone

else,

but keep crawling

on my belly anyway,

tempting myself

to believe

there could be something worse

than turning yourself

inside out

and finding the end

of

paradise.

IN THE CATACOMBS (For Mary Magdalene)
My hands find the ghosts of wind and water

which haunt the world with their smoothness.

Such soft fossils in the stone;

my fingers feel like they are touching themselves.

I reach for an indentation and find my broken-mirror reflection.

I pick up one of my eyes along with some of the ceiling.

They become my nose and a piece of lip.

My hair and a look of pain

stick in my fingers and I hurt and bleed.

I am just as much a grave in this room as I am me.
But I remember opening my eyes for the first time.

Buildings were not broken by the colors.

Neither were people.

Children ran through fields with their parents

who were also children,

picking flowers that did not burn them.

We spoke sky.

We spoke clouds.

Our accent came from everywhere

and we sang songs that made the elephants dance.

The world grew round and we rolled it to each other.

Nothing growled.

Everything kept growing.
I remember the sound of the first cannons.

It’s mice in the attic, we said, eating cheese.

We’ll get traps when we go to town in the morning.
I remember footprints in the snow.

I remember following.

It seemed like a prayer.

WAITING ON THE FALL-OUT
On the edge of everything

I catch a taxi to the harbor

where the boats lay still

and the gulls don’t speak.

Even the pier

holds tightly to its splinters,

giving nothing away

but my own drumbeat steps

as the mist tries me on for size.

I sit along the end of this half-bridge

and wait for anything else,

hoping the stars

rule out the total winter.
A ricochet of light

and one has become like us.

There is no splashing,

only ripples

and the echo of my own slow dripping.

I stop remembering now,

only listen to the resonance.

Touch me.

Lose this definition.

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