By Ken Woodley
The whole world has become Golgotha—the place of the skull.
I feel the nails more deeply every day,
like the rising tide of a virus washing further and further up the beach
and then flooding the streets, seeping beneath doors and finally splashing through my open window.
With every sunrise the nails are hammered deeper and deeper.
At sunset they find places to pierce me that I never knew existed.
I have called out, cried out and, as a last resort, whispered
but there is no answer.
I feel excommunicated from my very soul.
Why have you forsaken me?
I bear this cross with every step I take.
Nailed to it behind the steering wheel, standing in line with it at the grocery store while wearing a mask, falling asleep with it at night
when I dream of crosses
because all of the other dreams have been crucified.
My dream of you, as well.
Even the sky seems pierced at night
with small and distant twinkling
that is too far away from me to reach
and too far away to reach me.
The last echoes of a great and wondrous
light of love that speaks no more words to me.
And I remember when it used to sing.
With nowhere else to turn, I go looking for my own tomb.
My last resort.
And find it.
There in the darkness of a garden before dawn.
There I see the stone has been rolled away.
There I find my own tomb empty.
Waiting for me to fill it.
And I begin to weep.
All of my words are gone.
Only tears remain.
Every last hope withered, like petals fallen from wilted flowers.
The darkness seems to move now.
Coming toward me.
“Why are you crying?” I hear it ask.
But, no, it is not the voice of darkness speaking.
My God! Not the voice of darkness at all.
Vowels and consonants of light touch my skin and then embrace me.
The sky begins to bloom from what had seemed like the final and eternal winter.
Water colors defying gravity flow upward,
painting the parting and departing clouds,
and in this holy dawn I see your face.
Just as I remembered it.
The look of love within your eyes takes root in my heart and soul.
There are flowers all around.
I, too, am blooming
and you are my gardener, Jesus.
My petals open,
pulling out the nails.
Resurrection surrounds me,
filling me with the melody of new life.
Your harmonies free me completely
from the shrouding silence.
I begin to sing with a voice I never knew was mine.
But there is even more.
“My voice,” you explain, “belongs to everyone.
“And my heart,” you add, laying your hand upon my shoulder.
“Especially my heart.”
By Ken Woodley