blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Bed of Nails

The one they call an imposter
Smudges bulls-eyes on his palms
With carpenters' chalk, lifts
A cross as big as an I-beam
To his shoulder. Stumbling

Down a bombed-out alley,
Adjusting barbed-wire on his brow,
He bends to catch a goat's
Saliva in a tin cup, sweat
Splashing from his eyes.

A general prods him with a baton
Up a hill shaped like a satellite dish.
Glaring into teleprompters,
He scoffs at the imposter's love
Of enemies, his parables of stones

And seeds. White-coated servants
Pour tea for journalists pecking laptops
And cell phones under a marquee,
For lieutenants tamping sand
Against the cross with gold shovels.

In a concrete apartment below,
A mother stops breastfeeding
Her son to listen to hammers
On bones, a Mercedes sputtering
Over gravel, flies thudding on walls.

She closes her son's eyelids
With her thumbs, sings a lullaby
About a gold moon soaring
From a bed of nails into a cave
Chiseled with the secrets of infinity.  

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